Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

VALE - Stephen Talbot entered Friday's non-league football game at Vale averaging nearly 9 yards a carry. Obviously, Vale was going to key on him to try to shut down Baker's running attack.

The Vikings managed to slow Talbot down on the ground, but they had no answer for him through the air. Quarterback Jesse Brown found Talbot for 209 yards on five catches, and two long touchdown passes on the way to a 28-7 Baker victory.

"We knew Vale would key on Stephen since we run a one-back running attack," said Baker coach Dave Johnson.

"We knew Vale runs a lot of man coverage and we got Stephen isolated on a linebacker. Once he caught the ball it was see ya."

Talbot caught touchdown passes of 57- and 92 yards in the first half. He also had catches of 24 and 32 yards.

Baker (3-1) appeared on the way to taking control of the game early in the first quarter, but didn't capitalize.

The Bulldogs took the ball inside the Vale 5 on each of their first two drives, but couldn't punch it in.

"It was hit, hit, hit, misfire," Johnson said. "And we misfired at the wrong times.

"We slashed the ball, moving down field, but we couldn't close the door," Johnson said. "It was frustrating, as well as disappointing."

Despite the offensive misfires, the Bulldogs maintained the composure, thanks to their defense.

"Our defense played very, very well," Johnson said. "They stepped up to the challenge, and will continue to get better. I was very pleased with how the defense performed."

Baker limited Vale to 166 yards, much better than the nearly 500 yards ground out by Fruitland a week earlier.

Baker's offense continued to have its ups and downs.

"Offensively, we were inconsistent," Johnson said. "At times we were stellar; at others not so good"

Brown finished the game throwing for 356 yards and three touchdowns, despite being sacked on numerous occasions.

"Our offensive line is still a work in progress," Johnson said. "We knew Vale was going to blitz us a lot, and they got through more times than we'd like."

Talbot finished with five catches, as did Ty Everson. Justin Durflinger added four receptions.

"Our kids do a great job of catching the ball," Johnson said. "We want to distribute the ball all around. That's brings us a nice balance."

After the two first-quarter misses, Baker finally got on the scoreboard with 5:36 let in the first half.

Talbot took a swing pass behind the line and broke down the right sideline for a 57-yard score.

Sam Averett intercepted a Vale pass on the next series, and Baker capitalized.

The Bulldogs, starting from their own 8, needed just one play to score. Talbot again took a short pass from Brown and turned on the jets for a 92-yard touchdown. Brown connected with Durflinger for the two-point conversion and a 14-0 halftime lead.

Neither team scored in the third period.

Baker scored for the third time, four minutes into the final period.

This time Brown, dropping back to pass, found an opening up the middle and scooted 18 yards for the touchdown. Will Barr added the conversion kick.

Then, after Vale scored its lone touchdown, Baker completed the scoring when Brown found Everson on a fade rout in the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown.

Baker travels to Burns (4-0) Friday. The Hilanders defeated Ontario (0-4) 48-47 last Friday.

"Burns runs the ball really well," Johnson said. "They have a strong quarterback; very athletic.

"It will be a great challenge for us. The greater the challenge, the better we like it."

Baker 0 14 0 14 - 28

Vale 0 0 0 7 - 7

B - Talbot 57 pass from Brown (Kick failed)

B - Talbot 92 pass from Brown (Durflinger pass from Brown)

B - Brown 18 run (Barr kick)

V - DeVos 18 run (Tolman kick)

B - Everson 17 pass from Brown (Barr kick)

Individual statistics

Rushing - Baker: Talbot 17-68, Richards 8-12, Austin 1-3, Brown 12-(-25). Vale: Torrey 19-57, DeVos 8-48, Tolman 5-34, Haueter 3-3.

Passing - Baker: Brown 15-27-0-356. Vale: Haueter 3-11-3-24.

Receiving - Baker: Talbot 5-209, Everson 5-55, Durflinger 4-79, Barr 1-3. Vale: Yraguen 2-20, Torrey 1-4.

Interceptions - Baker: Averett, Brown, Everson.