Bulldogs meet their match in No. 1-ranked Wilsonville
By GERRY STEELE
Of the Baker City Herald
WILSONVILLE Fifth-ranked Baker gave No. 1 Wilsonville a game most of the afternoon Saturday. The only thing missing for the Bulldogs was points on the scoreboard.
When the afternoon was over Wilsonville (11-0) had powered its way to a 27-7 victory over the Bulldogs (9-2) in the OSAA/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires Class 3A quarterfinal football game at Randall Stadium.
"It was a great game," said Baker coach Dave Johnson. "We played about 39 minutes of pretty darn good football."
Johnson said a highlight for him was the way the Bulldogs shut down Wilsonville's vaunted outside running game.
"They've really run outside up until today," Johnson said. "We shut that off today. Then they went inside and hurt us."
The Baker coach noted that Wilsonville drives were extended several times when the Wildcats converted crucial third-down plays.
"They are definitely the most physical team we've played this season. But we knew that going into the game," Johnson said.
The game was a sad ending to a great Baker season. Johnson had to console the Bulldogs in the post-game locker room.
"No way does the outcome of today's game characterize this season," Johnson said. "If you don't set high expectations you will never get this level. And sometimes when you have higher expectations, it hurts when they don't come true.
"I'm really proud of these guys. We were right there. We had our chances. We just came up a little short."
Wilsonville drew first blood on its opening drive, marching 55 yards for a 36-yard Justen Patey field goal three minutes into the game.
The teams then traded possessions the rest of the quarter, which ended with the Wildcats clinging to the 3-0 lead. Patey had an opportunity to add to the lead with 2:36 left, but his 31-yard field goal try came up short.
Baker mounted an apparent scoring drive early in the second quarter, only to have Wilsonville's Spencer Smith intercept Casey Mitchell's pass in the end zone.
The Wildcats then took advantage of two costly Baker penalties to mount an 80-yard drive that culminated in a 5-yard touchdown run for Smith.
Baker then mounted its only successful scoring drive of the day, hurrying 65 yards in the final two minutes of the first half.
Mitchell found Cody Taylor over the middle for the 27-yard touchdown with 19.7 seconds left in the half.
On the play, Taylor caught the pass at the 10, bounced off a tackler, spun to his left and dove into the end zone. Brett Smith's kick pulled Baker to within 10-7 at halftime.
After stopping Baker to open the third quarter, Wilsonville increased its lead to 13-7 when Patey connected on a 23-yard field goal with 2:51 left in the period.
Wilsonville stopped another Baker drive late in the period when Dave Driscoll intercepted Mitchell one of four Wildcat picks on the afternoon and returned the ball to midfield.
Then, three minutes into the fourth quarter, quarterback Spencer Crace found burly tight end Steven Ohl on an 18-yard TD strike. On the play Crace rolled to his right and connected with Ohl, who then bulled over two Baker defenders and dove into the end zone.
Wilsonville scored its final touchdown late in the period.
Wilsonville rolled up 344 yards against the Class 3A's top defensive team. Baker managed 181 yards.
Johnson said he was impressed with the fan support behind the Bulldogs. There were probably 200 to 300 fans screaming for Baker.
"What a marvelous group of people who showed up to root for us," Johnson said. "It was just great to see so many people there supporting us."
"It hurts to end the season like this, but we'll take it and learn from it," he said.
Baker 0 7 0 0 7
Wilsonville 3 7 3 14 27
W Patey 36 FG
W S. Smith 5 run (Patey kick)
B C. Taylor 27 pass from Mitchell (B. Smith kick)
W Patey 23 FG
W Ohl 18 pass from Crace (Patey kick)
W Aylward 1 run (Patey kick)
First Downs 9 17
Rushing Yards 37-104 50-279
Passing Yards 77 65
Total Yards 181 344
Passing 7-16-4 4-5-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 3-0
Penalties-Yards 6-50 6-45
Rushing Baker: Mitchell 10-42, G. Smith 5-33, C. Taylor 6-19, T. Taylor 4-7, Banta 2-3. Wilsonville: S. Smith 16-106, Aylward 10-70, Grassi 4-46, Chay 5-28, C. Smith 6-15, MacKenzie 2-12, Crace 4-7, Sikstrom 3-(-5).
Passing Baker: Mitchell 7-16-4-77. Wilsonville: Crace 4-5-0-65, Sikstrom 0-1-1-0.
Receiving Baker: C. Taylor 2-27, Phillips 2-19, Johnson 2-16, Bunch 1-15. Wilsonville: Ohl 4-65.