Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

By Gerry Steele

FRUITLAND - The names may change, but the system remains the same.

At Fruitland, which has reached Idaho's Class 3A state championship game seven straight years, that means running the ball.

Friday, against Baker, the Grizzlies (4-0) amassed 517 total yards, 448 coming on the ground. That resulted in a 45-8 nonleague win over the Bulldogs (2-2).

"They did a nice job changing things up on us," said Baker coach Dave Johnson of the Idaho power.

Baker totalled 360 yards of its own. But didn't get the yards when it needed them.

"We made plays," Johnson said. "We just didn't string too many of them together."

Fruitland took the opening kickoff and needed just five plays to light the scoreboard.

The Grizzlies' first score, ironically, came on a pass from quarterback Jerred Seamons to Mike O'Dell.

Then, after forcing a Baker punt, Fruitland increased its lead to 10-7 on a 27-yard Trey Nattress field goal.

A short TD run late in the period by Ryan Rule gave Fruitland a 17-0 lead at the break.

Another Seamons TD aerial early in the second period increased the deficit to 24-0 30 seconds into the quarter.

Kennon Smith's first of two TD runs late in the quarter gave the Grizzlies a 31-0 halftime edge.

Two more touchdown runs by Smith and Rule increased Fruitland's lead to 45-0 with 6:30 left in the game.

Baker finally got on the board 30 seconds later when Porter Cline raced 39 yards for a touchdown.

Johnson saw some silver linings despite the one-sided score.

"Obviously this was not the outcome we had planned on, but there were some bright spots," Johnson said.

"Ben (Baxter) and Thomas (Hamilton) made some nice plays, and we had some good catches. Even the defense made some good plays. We just weren't consistent with them."

Baker now begins a 3-game homestand, starting with Pendleton Friday evening at Bulldog Memorial Stadium.

Baker defeated the Bucks 48-29 at Pendleton last season.

"We're welcoming the challenge," Johnson said.

"We'll lick our wounds from this week, and go after those Bucks."

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Baker 0 0 0 8 - 8

Fruitland - 17 14 7 7 - 45

F - O'Dell 16 pass from Seamons (Nattress kick)

F - Nattress 27 FG

F - Rule 6 run (Nattress kick)

F - Rhinehart 15 pass from Seamons (Nattress kick)

F - Smith 13 run (Nattress kick)

F - Rule 40 run (Nattress kick)

F - Smith 40 run (Nattress kick)

B - Cline 39 run (Bachman pass from Hamilton)

Individual statistics

Rushing - Baker: Baxter 18-122, Hamilton 16-45, Cline 4-41. Fruitland: Rule 14-119, Smith 10-119, Fiddler 11-90, A. Stelling 4-75, McKenzie 3-18, Tipton 4-9, Murphy 2-5, Bumgarner 1-4, Escobedo 2-3, C. Stelling 1-3, Hooter 1-3.

Passing - Baker: Hamilton 10-24-2-152. Fruitland: Seamons 4-5-0-69.

Receiving - Baker: Huggins 4-57, Baxter 2-53, Bruce 1-14, Bachman 1-12, O'Grady 1-10, Jones 1-6. Fruitland: Rhinehart 2-34, Rule 1-19, O'Dell 1-16.