Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

By Gerry Steele

Baker continues to struggle with the Fruitand Grizzlies on the football field.

Idaho's Class 3A top-ranked team (3-0) rolled into Bulldog Memorial Stadium Friday and left with a 35-14 non-league victory over the Bulldogs (2-1).

"It was a great contest for us to play against that caliber of opponent," said Baker coach Dave Johnson.

"We made some great plays, gto lots of stops, then we made some mistakes, they capitalized and we paid."

Baker looked anything but awed in the first quarter.

After forcing Fruitland to punt on its opening possession, the Bulldogs marched 65 yards for a touchdown.

Trent Taylor carried the bulk of the load on the ground, carrying the ball six times on the drive.

Quarterback Braden Phillips completed three passes, all to Dane Bachman, driving the ball to the Fruitland 1.

Phillips then dove off right guard for the touchdown. The conversion kick was no good when the center snap was fumbled, leaving Baker up 6-0 with 5:08 left in the first quarter.

Then Fruitland's vaunted running game went to work.

The Grizzlies took the kickoff 59 yards in just eight plays for the go-ahead touchdown. Half of those plays were running plays of more than 10 yards each.

The first quarter ended with Fruitlan leading 7-6.

The Grizzlies increased their lead to 14-6 with 6:07 left in the first half when Austin Stelling took an inside handoff and raced untouched for a 52-yard score.

That's where the score remained at halftime.

Baker appeared sluggish coming out of the halftime locker rom, and Fruitland took advantage.

Grizzlies quarterback Joe Martarano, who will play Division 1 college ball next fall, scored both TDs on short runs.

"Their quarterback is the real deal, and he has a decent supporting cast," Johnson said.

'That was just Wing T football at its finest. Down block, down block, then off to the races," the Baker coach said.

Stelling added another long TD run before Baker completed the scoring on a 12-yard Phillips-to-Bachman aerial late in the fourth quarter.

Fruitland amassed 439 total yards in the game, 403 on the ground.

Baker managed just 214 yards total offense.

Johnson said Baker now has to regroup before traveling to Vale Friday.

"Certainly, we'll have more guys come in to work harder Monday," he said.

"They want to respond. They'll come to work to get better. We'll go to Vale and play a good football game.

"Nobody likes to lose, but these kids will respond. They're champions and they will respond," Johnson said.

"A year ago we faced the same thing after playing Fruitland. The kids responded and had a pretty good run."

Fruitland 7 7 14 7 - 35

Baker - 6 0 0 8 - 14

B - Phillips 1 run (Run failed)

F - Fiddler 6 run (Rangel kick)

F - Stelling 52 run (Rangel kick)

F - Martarano 1 run (Rangel kick)

F - Martarano 5 run (Rangel kick)

F - Stelling 29 run (Rangel kick)

B - Bachman 12 pass from Phillips (Bachman pass from Phillips)

Individual statistics

Rushing -Fruitland: Rule 12-151, Stelling 3-87, Fiddler 6-54, Martarano 11-53, Olinger 8-43, Shipp 3-7, Bumgarner 2-5, Huff 3-4, Seamons 2-1, LaCrone 1-(-2). Baker: Taylor 13-46, Baxter 4-28, Phillips 6-(-18).

Passing -Fruitland: Martarano 4-4-0-36. Baker: Phillips 9-26-1-158.

Receiving -Fruitland: Graves 2-5, Olinger 1-18, Rhinehart 1-13. Baker: Bachman 8-131, Dolby 1-27.