By PAT PERKINS
Of The (La Grande) Observer
LA GRANDE Baker football coach Shea Little joked that he didnt remember last years game between his Bulldogs and the La Grande Tigers.
And after Friday nights 50-0 Baker victory over La Grande, Little said he focused his players on the Bulldogs, not on last years 45-0 win by La Grande.
Bakers desire to 45 La Grande turned the Greater Oregon League football game into a rout that ended by mercy rule with 1:22 left in the third quarter. It could have ended earlier, but a missed extra point kick allowed the Bulldogs to score another touchdown.
This year was more about the Bulldogs themselves, said Little, whose first game as a head coach was that La Grande game a year ago. We werent focused that much on La Grande.
In the second and third quarters, Baker was focused on beating La Grande with a sharp passing attack and a running game triggered by strong offensive line play. The Bulldogs scored 22 points in the second and 20 more in the third.
The catalyst was Baker quarterback Derek Riggs, who completed 12-of-19 passes for 206 yards, most in the first half. He threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more, including a 69-yard with 6:01 left in the third quarter that made the score 44-0.
Riggs had an excellent game. Everybody had an excellent game, Little said.
Bakers defense held La Grande to just 5 yards rushing. Baker converted four La Grande turnovers into touchdowns.
Baker had a 15-0 lead when Casey Fenwick tried a halfback pass that was intercepted by Greg Goodenough. The Bulldogs marched 69 yards in nine plays, with Riggs carrying the ball the final 7 yards for a 23-0 lead.
On La Grandes next series, Greg Moulton fumbled after a catch and Baker recovered. Bakers 62-yard drive ended with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Riggs to Goodenough.
Baker had it easier on its first two touchdowns of the third quarter. Joe Sullivan picked off a tipped pass from La Grande quarterback Kyle Bomberger and returned it 11 yards to La Grandes 11-yard line. Two runs by Ethan Bigelow put the ball in the end zone.
Fenwick fumbled on the next series and Baker recovered at its 31. After Riggs threw an incompletion, he ran to his right, sprinted past the secondary and all the way for the score.
Later, Baker ended the game with a 2-yard touchdown run by Justin Merritt.
Bakers first drive started when Riggs was sacked by La Grandes Adam Kleck and Joseph Waite. But the quarterback eventually tossed a 25-yard strike to Bigelow for the early lead.
A minute into the second quarter, Riggs hit Dan Justus for a 17-yarder that made it 15-0.
Baker actually ran for more than it passed, with Riggs leading the team with 80 yards thanks to his long touchdown. Merritt had 58 yards rushing and the Bulldogs averaged more than 7 yards a carry.
Bomberger was on target most of the night, completing 15-of-24 passes for 149 yards. Kleck had five catches for 54 yards.
The loss dropped La Grande to 2-1 in the GOL, 3-2 overall. Baker improved to 1-2 in GOL games.
The Bulldogs are 3-2 overall and play Grant Union at home Friday in Bakers Homecoming game.
Baker 8 22 20 x 50
La Grande 0 0 0 x 0
B Ethan Bigelow 25 pass from Derek Riggs (Dan Justus pass from Bigelow), 8:47
B Justus 17 pass from Riggs (Joe Sullivan kick), 10:53
B Riggs 3 run (Jason Jacobs pass from Riggs), 6:52
B Greg Goodenough 15 pass from Riggs (Sullivan kick), 3:18
B Bigelow 6 run (Justus pass from Riggs), 8:51
B Riggs 69 run (kick wide left), 6:01
B Justin Merritt 2 run (no attempt), 1:22
First downs 22 8
Rushes-yards 33-232 13-5
Passing yards 206 149
Comp-att-int 12-19-0 15-27-2
Fumbles-lost 3-1 2-2
Penalties-yards 7-37 5-27
Third-down conversions 2 of 7 2 of 8
Fourth-down conversions 3 of 3 0 of 2
Sacks byyards lost 2-16 2-12
Time of possession 19:22 15:16
RUSHING Baker: Riggs 10-80, Merritt 8-58, Bigelow 9-38, Sullivan 4-47, Price 1-6, Lager 1-3. La Grande: Fenwick 8-14, Wagner 1-5, Henderson 2-2, Bomberger 2-(-16).
PASSING Baker: Riggs 12-19-0-206. La Grande: Bomberger 15-24-1-149, Wagner 0-1-0-0, Fenwick 0-1-1-0, Henderson 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING Baker: Goodenough 5-79, Jacobs 3-62, Justus 2-35, Bigelow 1-25, Sullivan 1-5. La Grande: Kleck 5-54, Henderson 4-34, Fenwick 4-29, Stebbins 1-28, Moulton 1-4.