Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

Most pregame predictions said Friday's Baker-Ontario Greater Oregon League football game would be a high-scoring slugfest.

Those predictions were pretty much on the nose.

Celebrating its Homecoming, Baker amassed 496 total yards on the way to a 53-34 victory over the Tigers. Ontario, for its part, totaled 431 yards.

The win improves Baker's GOL record to 2-0 and assures the Bulldogs of at least a share of the league title. Baker travels to La Grande (1-1) Friday to close out the regular season. A Baker win would gain the league championship outright.

Ontario (1-1) hosts Mac-Hi (0-2). The Tigers must win to earn the GOL's third state berth.

"Awe, Homecoming 2010," said a smiling Baker coach, Dave Johnson in the locker room after the game.

At the time, Johnson was visiting with former Bulldog and current Oregon State Beaver Grant Johnson. Johnson, Trace Richardson and several other former Bulldogs were mingling with the current Bulldogs celebrating the win.

"It's nice to see some of of our guys come back for Homecoming and supporting the kids," Johnson said.

Johnson and his staff also was breathing a collective sigh of relief.

"It was a win," Johnson said. "It goes in the left-hand column. We made enough plays."

Almost too many plays, too quickly. Almost every time Ontario scored before the fourth quarter, Baker quickly answered.

"We made the plays, but at times we scored too quickly," Johnson said. "It would have been nicer to run some more time off the clock.

"But it was nice to see. We bowed our necks on the inside stuff. Ontario's known for their fly sweep, and I thought we handled it pretty well."

Baker scored on its first possession, on quarterback Jesse Brown's sneak from the Ontario 1. A 54-yard Brown-to-Justin Durflinger pass set up the touchdown. Will Barr then added the first of five made conversion kicks on the evening.

Ty Everson's interception set Baker up for its second scoring drive on the Baker 42.

Baker needed just eight plays to increase its lead to 14-0 when Luke Austin took a counter handoff and raced 10 yards for the score. On the play Brown faked a handoff to Stephen Talbot and then handed the ball to Austin going the other way. Joe Black made a key block on the end to allow Austin to clear the corner.

Ontario cut the lead to 14-7 early in the second quarter. But Baker answered.

Talbot scored the first of his five touchdowns on a 13-yard sprint around right end. Talbot started to his right, cut in then followed a block by Colten Richards to spring outside, diving across the goal line.

Black then picked off an Ontario pass giving the Bulldogs the ball on the Ontario 29.

Four plays later, Brown found Durflinger wide open for an 18-yard TD pass. Durflinger lined up in the slot. Everson cleared the area, and Durflinger was open near the end zone.

Baker led 28-7 at halftime.

The Bulldogs needed just two plays to increase their lead to 34-7 in the third period.

Starting on their own 26, a bad snap sent Baker back to its own 2. Brown then tossed a short pass into the left flat to Talbot. The Baker speedster did the rest. Talbot turned on the afterburners and outdistanced the Ontario defenders for a 98-yard TD.

(Unofficially, Baker coaches said to their knowledge the play was the longest Baker TD pass in school history.)

Later in the quarter, after Ontario had made the score 34-14, Talbot got into the act again.

This time, facing fourth-and-5 at the Ontario 42, Talbot went back to punt. Or, so it seemed.

Talbot took the snap, stutter stepped, then burst up the middle for a 42-yard touchdown.

"That was the first time we've called that play all year," Johnson said.

Baker led 40-14 entering the fourth quarter.

Ontario scored three touchdowns in the period, and Talbot scored on a pair of TD runs to complete the scoring.

Brown finished 12-of-18 passing for 302 yards. Talbot carried the ball 20 times for 126 yards and caught three passes for 103 yards.

Ontario 0 7 7 20 - 34

Baker 14 14 12 13 - 53

B - Brown 1 run (Barr kick)

B - Austin 10 run (Barr kick)

O - Gonzalez 4 run (Sanchez kick)

B - Talbot 13 run (Barr kick)

B - Durflinger 18 pass from Brown (Barr kick)

B - Talbot 98 pass from Brown (Kick failed)

O - Gonzalez 5 run (Sanchez kick)

B - Talbot 42 run (Kick failed)

O - Gonzalez 7 run (Sanchez kick)

B - Talbot 5 run (Kick failed)

O - Delgado 29 pass from Maeda (Sanchez kick)

B - Talbot 15 run (Barr kick)

O - Delgado 7 pass from Maeda (Pass failed)

Individual statistics

Rushing - Ontario: Gonzalez 24-133, Sanchez 4-18, Maeda 6-16, Salutregui 4-(-8). Baker: Talbot 20-16, Brown 9-44, Austin 2-14, Richards 3-13, Phillips 1-(-3).

Passing - Ontario: Maeda 19-28-2-276, Waite 0-2-0-0. Baker: Brown 12-18-0-302.

Receiving - Ontario: Gonzalez 9-103, Delgado 5-91, Salutregui 4-41, Sanchez 1-41. Baker: Talbot 3-103, Barr 3-25, Durflinger 2-72, Austin 2-56, Everson 2-46.