Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

By Gerry Steele

Baker football fans got their money's worth Friday evening at the Bulldogs' home opener at Bulldog Memorial Stadium.

Baker scored the first seven times it touched the football on the way to a 50-21 nonleague victory over Payette. The only time Baker didn't score was on its final possession when it was just trying to run time off the clock.

"Not bad. Not bad at all," said Baker coach Dave Johnson.

"We're getting more consistant. Every aspect of our game is getting better. We continued to take a step forward and up."

Baker rolled up 481 yards on offense while allowing Payette just 227.

"I'll take that any night," said Jason Ramos, Baker's defensive coach.

Ben Baxter and Thomas Hamilton each scored three rushing touchdowns for the Bulldogs. Hamilton added a TD pass to Colby O'Grady.

Baxter ran for 220 yards, and Hamilton passed for another 198.

Baker scored on its opening drive in the first quarter when Hamilton rolled left, received a downfeld block from Porter Cline, and scooted in for a 9-yard touchdown.

Hamilton connected with Keaton Bachman on the two-point conversion for an 8-0 Baker lead with 6:36 left in the period.

Then, after forcing a Payette punt, Baker needed just five plays to score again.

This time Hamilton found O'Grady on a diving catch in the front left corner of the end zone. Baxter had a key play on the drive, racing 36 yards through the middle of the Payette defense.

The conversion failed leavig Baker up 14-0 with 1:58 left in the quarter.

After forcing another Pirate punt, Baker mouted its third scoring drive to start the second quarter.

At the Payette 13 Baxter started to his left, then cut back to his right and raced into the end zone for a 20-0 Baker advantage.

Payette finally got on the scoreboard on the ensuing kickoff, returning the kick for a 90-yard touchdown.

Baker quickly answered, needing just six plays to build its lead to 28-7.

Hamilton again did the honors, this time on a 4-yard run around left end. Hamilton passed to Lukas Huggins on the two-point conversion.

Payette scored again before Baker completed the first-half scoring with just seconds remaining in the half.

Following Payette's touchdown, Baker needed eight plays to score again.

A Payette timeout with 10.8 second remaining and Baker ball at the Pirate 9 aided in the drive.

Payette had too many men on the field and had to call timeout to avoid a penalty. Of course, that stopped the clock allowing Baker time to call a play.

Baxter again did the honors, rolling left and usinga block from Huggins to score with 4.7 seconds left. Hamilton again passed to Huggins for the conversion giving Baker a 36-14 halftime lead.

Payette scored its final points on the opening drive of the third period.

Baker again quickly answered.

Five plays after the kickoff Hamilton scored his third rushing TD on a 21-yard jaunt. On the play, Hamilton swept left, followed a block from receiver Zaom Bruce, and went untouched into the end zone. The two-point conversion was good on a pass from Hamilton to O'Grady.

Baxter later completed the scoring when he took a handoff off left lackle and outran the Payette defenders down the middle of the field for a 52-yard touchdown.

Baker (2-1) travels to Idaho power Fruitland (3-0) Friday for a 6 p.m. Pacific Time kickoff.

Payette 0 14 7 0 - 21

Baker -14 22 14 0 - 50

B - Hamilton 9 run (Bachman pass from Hamilton)

B - O'Grady 28 pass from Hamilton (Pass failed)

B - Baxter 13 run (Pass failed)

P - Neill 90 kikcoff return (Alcala kick)

B - Hamilton 4 run (Huggins pass from Hamilton)

P - Grant 2 pass from Herrera (Alcala kick)

B - Baxter 9 run (Huggins pass from Hamilton)

P - DeLaPena 1 run (Alcala kick)

B - Hamilton 21 run (O'Grady pass from Hamilton)

B - Baxter 52 run (Pass failed)

Individual statistics

Rushing -Payette: Neill 7-41, DeLaPena 9-33, Deleon 6-21, Herrera 7-17, LeBow 2-4, Murdock 1-3. Baker: Baxter 16-220, Hamilton 11-44, Cline 3-19, Mespelt 2-0.

Passing - Payette: Herrera 11-23-0-108. Baker: Hamilton 16-21-0-198.

Receiving -Payette: Murdock 5-48, Grant 3-30, Neill 2-24, De:aPena 1-6. Baker: Huggins 5-41, O'Grady 3-52, Baxter 2-41, Bachman 2-29, Bruce 2-26, Cline 1-6, Schwin 1-3.