By Gerry Steele
Baker football coach Dave Johnson would like to forget about the better part of last week.
Between injuries and a 21-12 nonleague loss to Pendleton Friday at Bulldog Memorial Stadium, it was not a good few days for the Bulldogs.
"They say adversity reveals character," Johnson said.
"If that's really true, we have quite a team of characters."
The Bulldogs lost Micah Mespelt for the season during practice late in the week with a leg injury.
Gabe Logsdon sat out the Pendleton game with an injury, and Keith Kramer missed a good portion of the game after being injured.
But, probably the most telling injury was to starting quarterback Thomas Hamilton on Baker's first offensive play of Friday's game.
While completing a 12-yard pass to tight end Lukas Huggins, Hamilton was hit and went down.
He had to be helped to the sideline and eventually left the stadium to have his left ankle examined.
Hamilton later returned to the sideline, but was on crutches.
"Thomas will be back," Johnson said.
"We're not sure just when, but with Thomas he'll probably be strapped up and ready to go Monday (today).
"Gabe and Keith also will be back, but we're not sure exactly when. Micah's season is finished," Johnson said.
When Hamilton went down, Keaton Bachman moved from his receiver position to quarterback.
"I thought Keaton stepped up and did very well," Johnson said.
"Ben Baxter also continues to play well. And, I thought the defense really closed well. They had that bend, but don't break attitude."
Pendleton built a 21-0 halftime lead before Baker shut the Bucks out in the second half.
Neither team scored in the first quarter.
Pendleton then got on the scoreboard midway through the second period on a 1-yard run by Henry Perkins.
A 6-yard TD run by Keyano Walker increased Pendleton's lead to 14-0 with 1:39 left in the first half.
Baker then fumbled the ball away with 1.2 seconds left in the half.
Pendleton converted on the final play of the half when quarterback Chad McCoy found Isaiah Polhamus on a 41-yard touchdown pass.
Johnson said the final two plays of the half proved to be the game's turning point.
"Take away the last two plays of the first half and it's a different game," he said.
Baker would have trailed just 14-12 later in the second half, and could have faced some different decisions.
Baker finally scored late in the third quarter after driving 73 yards on just three plays.
Baxter carried twice in the drive for 62 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown run.
On the play, Baxter used a Zarom Bruce block to spring free, broke a tackle near the 35, avoided another tackler near the 20 and scooted into the end zone.
Bachman scored Baker's other touchdown with about 2:20 left in the game.
Facing fourth down at the Pendleton 1, Bachman used a bootleg and scampered into the end zone.
"Of curse we never like to lose, but it was a phenomenal effort," Johnson said.
"We have such great kids. They just bowed their necks. Their effort and poise is to be commended.
"Even in losing we took a step forward," the Baker coach said.
"Our guys were still playing when that last buzzer went off. That's to be commended. I'm very, very proud of them."
Baker (2-3) hosts Vale Friday at 7 p.m.
Pendleton 0 21 0 0 - 21
Baker - 0 0 6 6 - 12
P - Perkins 1 run (McCallum kick)
P - Walker 6 run (McCallum kick)
P - Polhamus 41 pass from McCoy (McCallum kick)
B - Baxter 35 run (Run failed)
B - Bachman 1 run (Pass failed)
Rushing -Pendleton: Walker 14-77, Perkins 13-58, McCoy 7-16, Hancock 1-6, Hollingshead 1-2. Baker: Baxter 20-140, Cline 1-22, Bachman 10-16.
Passing -Pendleton: McCoy 22-31-2-204. Baker: Bachman 4-11-1-33, Hamilton 1-1-0-12.
Receiving -Pendleton: Hancock 8-65, Polhamus 5-71, Quaempts 4-35, Walker 2-23, Engblom 1-10, Winterton 1-2, Perkins 1-(-2). Baker: Huggins 2-27, Powell 1-10, Jones 1-5, Baxter 1-3.