THE DALLES Bakers first-round game in the OSAA/U.S. Bank Class 3A football playoffs was two seconds too long Saturday.
Two seconds was how much time was left on the clock when The Dalles kicker Blair Wilkins booted a 34-yard field goal to propel the Indians past Baker 25-23 on a dreary, foggy afternoon in the Columbia Gorge.
Wilkins kick lifted The Dalles into the second round of play Saturday at Scappoose.
Baker had taken its first lead of the game, 23-22, on Ethan Bigelows 4-yard touchdown run with 1:14 left in the game. Joe Sullivans conversion kick lifted the Bulldogs in front.
But The Dalles, taking over on its own 35, swiftly moved down the field.
Quarterback Corey Carpenter connected on two straight passes to move the ball to the Baker 40 with 43 seconds left.
A short run, an incomplete pass, and an Indians penalty gave The Dalles a second-and-15 at the Baker 41.
Carpenter then completed two more passes to give the Indians a first down on the Baker 18 with seven seconds left. A Carpenter incompletion set up the field goal attempt with two seconds remaining.
Baker had trailed 14-0 after one period before mounting the first of several comeback bids.
The Bulldogs got two free points midway through the second period when Carpenter was called for intentionally grounding a pass while in his end zone. The penalty resulted in a safety, pulling Baker to within 14-2.
Baker then took over on the The Dalles 45 following the free kick. Three running plays moved the ball to the 32.
Quarterback Ty Nichols then found Dave Mullins for a 12-yard gain for a first down at the 20.
After Sullivan gained four yards, Nichols faked a handoff left, and executed a perfect bootleg around the right side for a 16-yard touchdown. Nichols then connected with Jason Jacobs for the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 14-10 with 3:26 left in the half.
The teams then traded turnovers, with The Dalles getting the better of the switch. The Indians recovered a Baker fumble at the Bulldog 9 with about 30 seconds left in the half.
Tailback Epi King scored from six yards out two plays later to give The Dalles a 22-10 halftime lead.
Baker again hit paydirt on its second drive of the third period.
Nichols found Sullivan on a 4-yard TD pass capping a 9-play, 75-yard drive to pull within 22-16 entering the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs final scoring drive started from their own 1 with 5:11 left in the game.
Behind the running of Bigelow, the Bulldogs moved out to the 24.
Nichols then found Greg Goodenough on a 25-yard completion, and Mullins for 11 more for a first down at the Indians 37.
Bigelow earned another first down with a 12-yard gain. Then, after the Bulldogs were set back by a 15-yard penalty, Nichols found Mullins for 34 yards to the Indians 6.
Justin Merritt gained two yards on first down. Then, Bigelow dove through a gap on the right side for the go-ahead touchdown.
Baker 0 10 6 7 23
The Dalles 14 8 0 3 25
TD North 12 pass from Carpenter (Wilkins kick)
TD King 27 run (Wilkins kick)
BK Safety: Carpenter penalized for grounding in end zone
BK Nichols 16 run (Jacobs pass from Nichols)
TD King 6 run (Schwartz pass from Carpenter)
BK Sullivan 4 pass from Nichols (Kick failed)
BK Bigelow 4 run (Sullivan kick)
TD Wilkins 34 FG
Rushing Baker: Bigelow 5-33, Merritt 9-18, Nichols 10-8, Sullivan 5-5, Goodenough 2-(-4). The Dalles: King 16-92, Hayner 7-36, Carpenter 3-(-13).
Passing Baker: Nichols 15-29-0-231, Mullins 0-1-0-0. The Dalles: Carpenter 13-22-2-149.
Receiving Baker: Goodenough 4-42, Mullins 3-57, Jacobs 2-71, Sullivan 2-21, Justus 2-18, Bigelow 1-14, Mack 1-8. The Dalles: North 5-88, Schwartz 5-30, Hayner 1-12, Crawford 1-11, King 1-2.