Bulldogs set to play home opener
By GERRY STEELE
Of the Baker City Herald
Bakers home-opening, non-league football game against Umatilla Friday evening is still on at Bulldog Memorial Stadium, at least for now.
John Birkmaier, BHS athletic director, said Wednesday that in the wake of Tuesdays terrorist attacks on the East Coast, the Oregon School Activities Association has left to individual districts the decision whether or not to play high school games the rest of this week and weekend.
Birkmaier said the OSAA issued a memo to member schools Tuesday afternoon stating that Oregons governing body of high school activities would stand by each districts decision.
Everything is still going on as normal as it can be, Birkmaier said.
Baker enters the game looking to do something it has not done since mid-October 1998 win consecutive games.
The Bulldogs won just one game in 1999, and one in 2000. The 1999 victory was a 68-20 win at Umatilla, the last time the teams met.
This season, Baker comes into the game with a 1-0 record following a 30-0 thumping of Parma, Idaho, in its season opener.
Despite the score, Baker coach Shea Little was not totally pleased with the Bulldogs performance.
Our defense played a pretty good game, Little said. But, a coach looks at things differently than the fans do.
Bakers defense scored three of the teams four touchdowns against Parma. We still have a lot of things to work on. For us as coaches we have to work out how do we motivate somebody to do something (win) they dont know how to do yet.
Little said the past week has been spent working on getting the Baker offense more in sync, particularly on the line.
Our focus is to push the kids to prepare to win, he said. We have to step it up a notch. That starts on the practice field.
Little said he has seen film of Umatilla, and, if Baker plays its game, the Bulldogs should prevail.
Umatilla runs the ball well; they run it at you, Little said. Defensively, they play a lot like we do.
Umatilla, 1-1, travels to Baker following a 36-21 loss to the Pendleton junior varsity last Thursday. The Vikings, who joined the Class 2A Columbia Basin Conference last season after dropping from the Class 3A Greater Oregon League, opened their season two weeks ago with a 46-0 romp over Elgin.
Against Pendleton, Bruno Ybarra led four Vikings runners who amassed 54 yards or more. Ybarra ran for 81 yards on 25 carries. Ybarra had 135 of Umatillas 302 rushing yards a week earlier against Elgin.
The Vikings also rely on Chris Wyland, Arjuna Strong, Elliott Bratton and Damian Wolfgram to fill key backfield and receiving positions.
Umatillas line is anchored by left guard Jason Byers, the only returning senior lineman. The Vikings graduated 16 seniors last season, including their entire offensive line.
Umatilla quarterback Tony Villanueva was 4 of 6 passing against Pendleton, but left that game in the second quarter with a concussion.
Fridays game kicks off at 7 p.m.
In other area games, Powder Valley opens Old Oregon League play at Cove. Pine-Eagle hosts Marsing, Idaho, Saturday afternoon at Halfway.
Both games begin at 2 p.m.