Baker shuts out Tigers for GOL crown

By Gerry Steele / The Baker City Herald

Baker continued its record-setting football season Friday, shutting out La Grande 28-0 in the Bulldogs' Homecoming game at Bulldog Memorial Stadium.

The win gave Baker (3-0 in the GOL and 6-2 overall) the Greater Oregon League championship for the second straight season. The back-to-back titles is the first for any GOL team since Baker did it 1992 and 1993.

"You know what guys, you're league champions," Baker coach Dave Johnson told his charges in the locker room following the game.

That remark drew applause from around the room.

"Back-to-back titles is a high-water mark," Johnson said. "It's pretty special."

Then Johnson tempered his next remarks.

"The league championship is a big thing, but we've got bigger fish to fry," he said.

The defending Class 4A champions open defense of that state title this weekend at home in a 4A play-in game. The date, time and opponent haven't been determined.

"This is a special thing for these kids, getting back to back championships," Johnson said.

"They played great defense. More of that bend-but-don't-break type of game."

For the fourth straight came the Bulldogs had multiple interceptions. Cody Osborn picked off three La Grande passes, returning one for a touchdown. Sam Averett had the other theft.

"And, in the first half, we were cooking with gas on offense," the Baker coach said.

That was something Johnson was worried about entering Friday's game.

"We played so well against Ontario last week (a 50-8 win) I wondered if we might come out flat against La Grande," he said. "But we didn't. In fact it was just the opposite."

Quarterback Braden Phillips completed his first six passes, and finished the first half 9-of-11 passing as Baker scored all of its points before halftime.

Baker came out of the halftime locker room flat and didn't have the same zip in the second half.

"We certainly did not finish like we started," Johnson said. "But give La Grande credit. The way they played certainly was not indicative of a 28-0 score."

Phillips scored Baker's first touchdown with 5:53 left in the first quarter on an 8-yard run. On the play, Phillips rolled to his right, pump faked a pass to Dane Bachman, then cut inside Bachman's block for the score. Trent Taylor added the conversion kick for a 7-0 lead.

That's where the score remained until Osborn picked off a pass giving the Bulldogs possession on their own 42 in the second period.

Five plays later Colten Richards bolted off right tackle, using a block from Grayson Swiger for a 14-0 lead with 4:48 left in the half.

Phillips scored his second touchdown on a 1-yard run with 16.4 seconds left in the half.

Osborn then turned the tables, interception his second pass and returning it 55 yards for a 28-0 Baker lead with 1.6 seconds left in the half.

Phillips finished the game 13-of-23 passing for 156 yards. Richards carried the ball 17 times for 146 yards. Bachman caught seven passes for 77 yards.

Baker finished with 351 yards on offense, La Grande 187.

La Grande 0 0 0 0 - 0

Baker 7 21 0 0 - 28

B - Phillips 8 run (Taylor kick)

B - Richards 2 run (Taylor kick)

B - Phillips 1 run (Taylor kick)

B - Osborn 55 interception return (Taylor kick)

Individual statistics

Rushing - La Grande: Jacobs 12-58, Haynes 18-46, Sofe 8-14, Peasley 3-(-6). Baker: Richards 17-146, Phillips 10-33, Osborn 2-12, Taylor 1-7, Elwanger 1-(-3).

Passing - La Grande: Peasley 6-15-4-75. Baker: Phillips 13-23-1-156.

Receiving _ La Grande: Jacobs 2-47, Lankford 2-24, Haynes 2-4. Baker: Bachman 7-77, Dolby 2-36, Averett 2-21, Taylor 1-22, Elwanger 1-0.

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The Baker City Herald
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