Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

The Class 4A state champion Baker High School football team received commemorative rings and unveiled a new state championship banner in the Baker High School gym Friday evening.

The rings were presented by members of the Baker Quarterback Club to the Baker players, coaches and support staff, and were donated from contributions made from the Baker City community.

Rocky Brown, Club vice president, presided over the ceremony.

"First of all, congratulations to the Greater Oregon League," Brown said. "All three teams that made it to state advanced to the Sweet 16."

Brown said for the Bulldogs to win the state championship everything had to be just right.

"To accomplish a state championship the strs have to line up for it to happen," Brown said.

"For these kids it happened about nine years ago when Dave Johnson was hired as the Baker football coach.

"Then, eight years ago we started the Y tackle football program. We told those kids they might be state champions some day," Brown said.

The seniors on the team were fifth-graders at the time, and the juniors fourth-graders.

"Coach Johnson and his staff have led the Bulldogs to the state playoffs every year in those nine years," Brown said. "And, we've earned four GOL titles in the last eight years. That's never happened before."

Baker won the GOL title in 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010.

"The last two years the Bulldogs have played for the state championship. That also had never happened before," Brown said.

Baker (12-1 this season) lost to Marist in the title game two years ago, and defeated Douglas 34-20 last Dec. 4 to claim the current title. It was Baker's first football championship, and the 12 wins this past season also is a school record.

Then, as Brown read their names, Club president Brad Phillips presented each player, coach and support staff member with their rings.

The team then presented the coaching staff, trainer Rob Bachman, filmer Steve Hardrath. Principal Jerry Peacock, Assistant Principal Gwen O'Neal, and athletic director Mike Sullivan with footballs autographed by the team members.

Sullivan then unveiled the banner on the south wall of the gym that reads "Class 4A Football 2010 State Championships."