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Bulldogs open the Greater Oregon League season with convincing 35-14 victory over Tigers
Maybe Baker football coach Dave Johnson should work his Bulldogs to the brink of exhaustion every week. Particularly if it results in a complete-game victory like Baker’s 35-14 Greater Oregon League win over Ontario Friday.
Baker Bulldogs Dekker Smith (No. 46), Robert Gardner (No. 50), Kevin Fraser (No. 76) and Walker Kaseberg (No. 15) raised their helmets in celebration after beating Greater Oregon League rival Ontario 35-14 in Friday’s homecoming game at Bulldog Memorial Stadium. (Baker City Herald/Kathy Orr)
The Bulldogs (5-2 overall and 1-0 in the GOL) delighted the Homecoming crowd at Bulldog Memorial Stadium by easily handling the visiting Tigers.
“The kids carried it out exactly the way it was drawn up,” Johnson said.
The Baker coach said Friday was a perfect night to play football. And, that that was good because he wasn’t sure what to expect after Thursday’s practice.
“Friday was just right,” Johnson said. “It was a great night weatherwise, it was a good game, good competition, and a great result.”
As for it being Homecoming, Johnson was leery after Thursday’s workout.
“The kids were a little more tired than we would have liked Thursday,” he said. “But they came out fired up Friday and executed very well.”
It was actually Baker’s special teams that opened the scoring Friday.
After Jordan Harlow’s punt pinned Ontario on its own 15 the Baker defense pushed the Tigers back to their own 8. Facing a punting situation, the center snap sailed over punter Tad Anzaldua’s head and out of the end zone for a safety giving Baker a 2-0 lead.
That’s where the score remained until the first play of the second period. Then Ontario’s Jake Turner scooted inside the tackles for an 18-yard touchdown and a 7-2 Ontario lead.
Baker rallied on its final drive of the first half, taking over on its own 26 with about two minutes left before halftime.
Harlow then connected with Walker Kaseberg for 31 yards, and Steven Talbot followed with a 37-yard gallop to give Baker a first down on the Ontario 6 with 1:35 left in the half.
A holding penalty and a stop for no gain left Baker facing second down on the Ontario 19. Harlow then found Trace Richardson in the corner of the end zone for the touchdown and a 9-7 Baker halftime lead.
Baker boosted its lead to 15-7 on its first drive of the second half. The key play on the drive was a 37-yard connection between Harlow and Kaseberg to the Ontario 9. From there Talbot burst outside for the score.
The Bulldogs stuffed Ontario’s next drive when Jon Woolard intercepted an Anzaldua pass, giving Baker a first down on the Ontario 43.
Another holding penalty set Baker back to its own 45. But on the next play Harlow found Kennan Richards breaking free over the middle for a 55-yard touchdown strike. Harlow’s kick gave Baker a 22-7 cushion with 6:39 left in the third period.
The Bulldogs then increased their lead to 28-7 two minutes into the fourth quarter. Again it was Harlow hooking up with Richardson.
Facing fourth down on the Ontario 18, Harlow set up in the shotgun and fired a pass to the end zone. The ball actually went through another Baker receiver’s hands before Richardson clutched it for the touchdown.
Baker running back Steven Talbot, No. 32, busted through several Ontario defenders after taking a handoff from quarterback Jordan Harlow, No. 8. Baker opened Greater Oregon League play by defeating Ontario 35-14 at Bulldog Memorial Stadium. (Baker City Herald/Kathy Orr)
Ontario scored its other touchdown three minutes later when Anzaldua connected with Turner for a 23-yard touchdown.
Baker’s final score was set up by Rowdy LaMiller’s interception of an Anzaldua pass. A half-dozen plays later Chad Adams scooted in from 20 yards out.
Adams finished with 121 yards on the ground, and Talbot 52. Harlow was 8-of-13 passing for 223 yards. Richardson caught four balls for 82 yards, and Kaseberg three for 86.
Baker finished with 380 yards total offense, Ontario 300.
“The boys up front did a great job of run blocking and pass protection,” Johnson said.
“Steve and Chad were running with aces, and most importantly our defense stopped (Ontario).
“We were very pleased. The kids played hard for 48 minutes. They played the physical brand of game that we expect,” Johnson said.
“Trace and Walker both can jump well and run. Our receivers had nice hands and Jordan had a nice touch.”
The Bulldogs can clinch a berth in the Class 4A state playoffs Friday when they travel to Community Stadium in La Grande for a matchup with the Tigers (0-1) beginning at 7 p.m.
“I’m pretty sure there won’t be a letdown,” Johnson said, referring to the fact that La Grande is having a down year.
“We’ll take it on like it’s the league championship game, which it very well could be. This is another great rivalry for us. In fact the La Grande rivalry is probably longer than the one with Ontario,” he said. “It will be fun for the boys.”
Baker 2 7 13 13 — 35
B — Safety
O — Turner 18 run (Lang kick)
B — Richardson 19 pass from Harlow (Harlow kick)
B — Talbot 9 run (Kick failed)
B — Richards 55 pass from Harlow (Harlow kick)
B — Richardson 18 pass from Harlow (Kick failed)
O — Turner 23 pass from Anzaldua (Lang kick)
B — Adams 20 run (Harlow kick)
Rushing — Ontario: Lopez 15-98, Turner 7-32, Martinez 1-12, Horn 1-(-1), Garza 6-(-6), Anzaldua 3-(-16). Baker: Adams 19-121, Talbot 15-52, Woolard 1-16, Harlow 4-(-32).
Passing — Ontario: Anzaldua 16-25-2-181. Baker: Harlow 8-13-1-223.
Receiving — Ontario: Turner 5-59, Martinez 5-59, Lopez 2-17, Keyes 1-20, Anthony 1-19, Garza 1-4, Mejia 1-3. Baker: Richardson 4-82, Kaseberg 3-86, Richards 1-55.