Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

Baker' defense continued its domination of opponents Saturday in the first round of the Class 4A football playoffs against Sweet Home.

Baker's defense continued its season-long dominance in defeating the Huskies 43-7 at Bulldog Memorial Stadium.

No high school team in Oregon has scored against Baker's first-team unit. The last team to score against the first-team defense was Fruitland in Baker's third game of the season.

"The kids played outstanding defense," said Baker coach Dave Johnson.

The Bulldogs held Sweet Home's star running back Wade Paulus under 100 yards until late in the fourth quarter when he galloped 55 yards for the Huskies' only touchdown.

"To hold a guy of that caliber to so few yards, that's impressive. He's the real deal," Johnson said.

"The kids played great assignment football. We just had great leverage all day."

Jason Ramos, Baker's defensive coach, agreed.

"The guys lined up right. They were going to the right spot.

"Coming back this year we knew we had some holes to fill defensively," Ramos said. "But, we thought we had a pretty good defensive team. And, we do. And, they'll get better."

"They've embraced it. It's pretty amazing what can happen when guys do what they're suppose to do," johnson said.

"We're very happy for this group," he said. "From the Weiser game (Baker's last loss) to now, what growth. These kids have bought into what we're saying and have worked hard."

Johnson said he was especially proud of this year's team (8-2), playing in a season following the Bulldogs' state championship a year ago.

"I'm really happy for these boys," he said. "They've been playing a shadow of that championship team. But, now they've established their own game."

Saturday, Baker scored on its first offensive series.

The Bulldogs started on their own 40 and marched 60 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Braden Phillips did the honors, bolting 4 yards up the middle out of the shotgun. Colten Richards ran the two-point conversion giving Baker an 8-0 lead with 5:05 left in the first quarter.

Baker increased its lead to 15-0 on the second play of the second quarter, and again it was Phillips doing the honors.

This time Phillips lined up again in the shotgun, but when the middle clogged up, re slanted to his right for a 1-yard TD. Trent Taylor's conversion kick gave the Bulldogs the 15-0 edge with 11:15 left in the half.

Cody Osborn's interception, the first of his two in the game, set Baker up for its third score late in the second period.

The interception stopped a Sweet Home drive at the Baker 5.Osborn then caught a 50-yard pass from Phillips to give Baker a first down on the Sweet Home 45.

Richards then bolted for 23 yards to the 21. Then, following two penalties against the Bulldogs, Phillips connected for 38 yards with Kyle Elwanger to the Huskies 4. Elwanger caught the ball on his fingertips and he went out of bounds.

Two running plays later Richards went up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown and a 22-0 halftime Baker lead.

Phillips boosted Baker's lead to 29-0 with 1:10 left in the third period, when he found Dane Bachman from 40 yards out for a TD. Bachman had to slow down and leap high in the air to catch the pass.

The Bulldogs scored two more times in the fourth quarter.

Phillips connected from 18 yards with Osborn with 9 minutes left in the game.

Richards added a 23-yard scoring run with 7 minutes left.

The game had some physical, sometimes questionable, calls. Baker was whistled for 14 penalties for 105 yards. Sweet Home was called 16 times for 147 yards.

Johnson said he was pleased with how well the Bulldogs kept their composure.

"Our guys showed a lot of class," he said. "They kept their composure well.

"Credit really belongs to the kids," johnson said.

Johnson said the Bulldogs worked extra to prepare for Paulus.

"This past week in practice on three different occasions the kids took 53 straight defensive snaps," he said. "That's almost unprecedented. Even on Friday the kids took 30 snaps and were asking for more."

Baker travels to top-ranked Siuslaw Saturday for a quarterfinal game. Game time has not been set.

Sweet Home 0 0 0 7 - 7

Baker 8 14 7 14 - 43

B - Phillips 4 run (Richards run)

B - Phillips 1 run (Taylor kick)

B - Richards 1 run (Taylor kick)

B - Bachman 40 pass from Phillips (Taylor kick)

B - Osborn 18 pass from Phillips (Pass failed)

B - Richards 23 run (Bachman pass from Hamilton)

S - Paulus 55 run (Winslow kick)

Individual statistics

Rushing - Sweet Home: Paulus 21-131, Horner 5-13, Bidwell 7-9, Smith 1-0. Baker: Richards 16-133, Phillips 7-32, Taylor 3-3, Mespelt 3-2, Hamilton 2-(-7).

Passing - Sweet Home: Horner 8-18-3-81, Paulus 1-2-0-30. Baker: Phillips 14-17-0-268, Hamilton 1-1-0-2.

Receiving - Sweet Home: Keenon 3-54, Paulus 3-21, Holly 2-26, Vandenberg 1-10. Baker: Bachman 6-67, Osborn 3-110, Taylor 3-32, Elwanger 1-38, Hamilton 1-17, Averett 1-6.

Interceptions - Baker: Osborn 2, Averett.