Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

By Gerry Steele

Baker needed a minor wakeup call against Payette Friday before rolling to a 56-14 victory in a non-league football game at Payette High School.

Payette quarterback Clint Blackwell completed 9 of 16 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter to put the Bulldogs in a 14-0 hole.

"(Payette) played really well," said Baker coach Dave Johnson.

"He's a strong quarterback and he has great receivers.

"They came right out and made some plays," Johnson said.

"And we didn't make a few plays in that first quarter."

Johnson said he was impressed with the way the Bulldogs (2-0) rebounded from the deficit.

"It was a great test for our guys," he said. "Our last 40 minutes was pretty impressive."

Johnson said the Bulldogs made the defenisve adjustments after the shaky start.

"Our guys got in a little better position, and we started getting pressure on them. The guys just started executing better," Johnson said.

Baker cut the deficit in half on the first play of the second period.

Quarterback Braden Phillips rolled to his left and found Dane Bachman behind the defense for a 35-yard touchdown pass. Trent Taylor added the first of eight Baker conversion kicks to cut Payette's lead to 14-7.

Then, after forcing a Payette punt, the Bulldogs drove for the tying touchdown.

The 60-yard drive culminated in a 13-yard Taylor scoring run with 6:36 left in the first half.

Linebacker Lukas Huggins set up Baker's third touchdown with about five minutes left in the half when he intercepted Blackwell in Baker territory.

Huggins followed his blockers, advancing the ball to the Payette 9 before being knocked out of bounds.

Baker took its first lead two plays later when Taylor bolted off the right side of the line for a 2-yard TD.

Baker led 21-14 at halftime.

Then, as they have in almost every game the past two seasons, the Bulldogs punched in another touchdown on their first possession of the second half.

Again, it was Phillips and Bachman hooking up.

Dropping back to pass, Phillips couldn't find an open receiver, and started to run. But, as he reached the line of scrimmage, Phillips spotted Bachman downfield and fired a 47-yard scoring strike to the 6-foot-4 receiver.

Baker then forced two more Payette turnovers, the last an interception by Phillips with 6 minutes left in the third period.

Taylor, who finished with 147 yards rushing, then scored his third touchdown on a 7-yard run. The score was set up by a 48-yard Phillips-to-Bachman strike to the Payette 7.

Then, following another Payette punt, Phillips and Bachman connected for their third touchdown, this time on a 21-yard pass.

Payette fumbled the ball away on the ensuing kickoff and Baker needed just five plays to add another touchdown.

Ben Baxter did the honors from 3 yards out on the second play of the fourth quarter.

Bachman then replaced Taylor, who had kicked all of the earlier PATs, and booted Baker's seventh conversion kick.

Baxter later completed the scoring when he took a handoff, bounced off a couple of Payette tacklers and raced 59 yards for his second touchdown.

"The guys did a real nice job of executing on both sides of the ball," Johnson said.

Baker finished with 508 total yards - 260 in the air and 248 on the ground. The Bulldogs limited Payette (2-1) to 265 total yards.

Baker will host Fruitland, Idaho's Class 3A No. 1-ranked team, Friday at Bulldog Memorial Stadium.

"Fruitland is a very good team. It will be a great challenge for our guys," Johnson said.

"It will be a great deposit going into league play; a great way to get ready for our second season."

Baker -0 21 21 14 - 56

Payette 14 0 0 0 - 14

P - Winn 14 pass from Blackwell (Alcala kick)

P - Winn 15 pass from Blackwell (Alcala kick)

B - Bachman 35 pass from Phillips (Taylor kick)

B - Taylor 13 run (Taylor kick)

B - Taylor 2 run (Taylor kick)

B - Bachman 47 pass from Phillips (Taylor kick)

B - Taylor 7 run (Taylor kick)

B - Bachman 21 pass from Phillips (Taylor kick)

B - Baxter 3 run (Bachman kick)

B - Baxter 59 run (Bachman kick)

Individual statistics

Rushing -Baker: Taylor 21-147, Baxter 4-68, Phillips 8-21, Mespelt 3-8, Hamilton 1-4. Payette: Tompkins 6-17, Judd 1-9, Winn 2-7, Murdock 1-5, Blackwell 5-(-5).

Passing - Baker: Phillips 11-19-0-254, Hamilton 1-1-0-6. Payette: Blackwell 17-37-2-232.

Receiving -Baker: Bachman 6-198, Huggins 2-13, Hamilton 2-12, Dolby 1-30, Cline 1-7. Payette: Poe 8-106, Winn 7-119, Murdock 1-7, Bake 1-0.