Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

By Gerry Steele

It's almost a fantasy world when a team can lead an opponent 28-0 midway through the first quarter after running just four offensive plays.

But, that's what happened to Baker Friday in its non-league football game at Vale.

The Bulldogs offense was on the field for four plays, scoring twice, in the first six minutes. Baker's special teams added two more touchdowns in that span.

Those special teams never let up, adding two more scores, as the Bulldogs rolled past Vale 49-7.

"Our special teams were on fire," said Baker coach Dave Johnson.

"They made some pretty special plays. Those are things we work on in practice and they executed them very well," Johnson said.

"It was nice to see those things coming along at this point in the season.

"It was pretty amazing. The kids were having fun. Everything went right for us, and everything was going wrong for Vale.

"Our guys did a great job of playing at a high level the entire game," Johnson said.

"Our offensive front was just short of perfect. Our defense was stellar, and our special teams were on fire."

Baker stopped Vale on its opening drive, forcing a punting situation.

The Vale center snap sailed over the kicker's head giving Baker a first down on the Vale 5.

Two plays later quarterback Braden Phillips scored on a 1-yard sneak.

Baker again forced Vale to punt on its next drive, taking over at midfield.

Two plays later, Phillips found Thomas Hamilton in the flat for a 42-yard touchdown pass and a 14-0 Baker lead with about eight minutes left in the first period.

Then, the special teams took over.

Vale fumbled a pitch at its own 22, and after a scramble Baker's Jake Grammon picked the loose ball up at the 10 and raced into the end zone for a 21-0 Baker lead.

Vale again punted on its next drive.

Darren Dolby had the ball bounce behind him to the Baker 20. Dolby circled behind the ball, picked it, picked up his blockers and raced 80 yards for another touchdown.

The first quarter ended with Baker leading 28-0.

That changed quickly early in the second quarter.

Fored to attempt another punt from its own 4, Vale again couldn't stop the Bulldogs.

Grammon, who has a knack of getting pressure on opposing kickers, broke through the wall and batted the attempt out of the end zone for a safety, and a 30-0 Baker edge.

That lasted 20 seconds.

Dane Bachman took the ensuing free kick at the Baker 30, broke a handful of tackles, and scooted 70 yards for another touchdown.

Baker led 36-0 with 10:08 left in the first half, and had run just eight offensive plays.

Phillips and Bachman couldn't go a game without hooking up for a TD pass.

So, on Baker's next possession, the duo did just that. Phillips found Bachman on a slant pattern over the middle from 13 yards out for a 42-0 halftime lead.

Trent Taylor, who led Baker with 146 yards rushing on just nine carries, completed Baker's scoring with a third-quarter TD run.

Baker shut out the Vikings until just 11 seconds remained in the game.

"The shut out would have been nice, but right now our goal is to get better doing the things we're suppose to do, and to give our younger kids a chance to get some playing time," Johnson said.

Baker (3-1) finished with 327 total yards, and limited Vale to 111.

The Bulldogs travel to Pendleton Friday for the first time in almost 20 years.

"It will be a great challenge for us," Johnson said.

"Their 1-3 record does not reflect the caliber of football team they are. It should be fun for our guys. It's always a different atmosphere at the Round-Up grounds. In many ways it's almost like a playoff game for us."

Baker - 28 14 7 0 - 49

Vale - 0 0 0 7 - 7

B - Phillips 1 run (Taylor kick)

B - Hamilton 42 pass from Phillips (Taylor kick)

B - Grammon 10 fumble return (Taylor kick)

B - Dolby 80 punt return (Taylor kick)

B - Safety: Grammon block put out of end zone

B - Bachman 70 kickoff return (Kick failed)

B - Bachman 13 pass from Phillips (Kick failed)

B - Taylor 7 run (Bachman kick)

B - TD pass (Kick good)

Individual statistics

(Baker only)

Rushing -Taylor 9-146, Baxter 2-38, Phillips 6-(-15).

Passing - Phillips 9-13-0-158.

Receiving -Bachman 5-97, Dolby 2-14, Hamilton 1-42, Cline 1-5.