Baker has been searching for a solid running game all season.
Friday, the Bulldogs found that missing part of its offense during a 48-12 Greater Oregon League football win over Mac-Hi at Bulldog Memorial Stadium.
Gabe Gambleton got the call to start at quarterback in place of Spencer Shirtcliff and answered by running for 72 yards and four touchdowns on 14 carries.
The Bulldogs ran for 203 yards as a team.
“We obviously ran the ball well,” said Baker coach Dave Johnson. “We were pretty pleased with that. The kids did a great job. Give credit to our offensive line. They made the blocks and our backs took advantage of that.”
Baker’s win, coupled with La Grande’s 49-12 win over Ontario Thursday, also tightened the GOL standings.
Ontario and La Grande are knotted in first place with 3-1 records. Baker is right behind those teams with a 2-2 mark.
Baker travels to Ontario Friday, then hosts La Grande in two weeks.
“The kids are ready to go play Ontario,” Johnson said. “It will be a big game.”
Against Mac-Hi, Gambleton scored his first touchdown with 4:55 left in the first quarter.
On the play Gambleton was surrounded by a trio of Mac-Hi defenders, avoided their rush and sprinted to the corner of the end zone.
Then, after Mac-Hi cut Baker’s lead to 7-6 early in the second period, Gambleton scored his second TD when he followed Gauge Bloomer’s block into the end zone from 12 yards out.
Baker led 14-6 at halftime.
Gambleton scored his third touchdown with 2:45 left in the third quarter on a 1-yard run.
Baker’s defense then got into the scoring column for the third consecutive week eight seconds later.
Sam McCauley forced the Mac-Hi quarterback to fumble and Mason Van Arsdall scooped the ball up and went 25 yards for a 27-6 Baker lead.
“The kids did a really great job defensively,” Johnson said.
Besides the fumble return, Spencer Smith had a pair of first-half interceptions.
Gambleton scored his final TD 47 seconds into the fourth quarter on a 7-yard run.
Shirtcliff then returned at quarterback and completed a pair of touchdown passes to Kaden Myer and Carlos DeLaRosa.
Mac-Hi - 0 6 0 6 — 12
Baker - 7 7 13 21 — 48
B — Gambleton 17 run (Rushton kick)
M — Quist 5 pass from Gilmore (Kick failed)
B — Gambleton 12 run (Rushton kick)
B — Gambleton 1 run (Kick failed)
B — Van Arsdall 25 fumble return (Rushton kick)
B — Gambleton 7 run (Kick failed)
B — Myer 51 pass from Shirtcliff (Rushton pass from Flanagan)
B — DeLaRosa 20 pass from Shirtcliff (Rushton kick))
M — White 5 run (Kick failed)
Rushing —Mac-Hi: White 18-84, Brinkley 1-2, Gilmore 17-1, Birdwell 1-(-4), Carlson 2-(-23). Baker: Hammans 14-96, Gambleton 14-72, Bloomer 9-35, Shirtcliff 2-0.
Passing —Mac-Hi: Gilmore 11-22-2-120. Baker: Gambleton 4-10-0-35, Shirtcliff 2-4-0-71.
Receiving —Mac-Hi: White 4-62, Quist 3-22, Brinkley 2-9, Birdwell 1-19, Brennan 1-8. Baker: Flanagan 2-25, Myer 1-51, DeLaRosa 1-20, Hammans 1-11, Schwin 1-(-1).