Baker football coach Dave Johnson told his young squad before Friday’s game with Nyssa how exciting it can be to take the field under the lights.
“We’d talked about how electric Friday nights can be,” Johnson said. “I wasn’t sure if it was going to be for us.”
Baker trailed 6-0 until just 1:40 remained in the game. Then quarterback Spencer Shirtcliff connected with Spencer Smith in the back right corner of the end zone. Mahonri Rushton punched in the conversion kick to give Baker the 7-6 win.
“The kids kept fighting,” Johnson said.
“I was pleased, impressed with the kids’ character.”
Even after taking the lead, Baker had to hang on for the win.
One final Nyssa drive was aided by two personal foul penalties against the Bulldogs, giving Nyssa a first down on the Baker 18 with 36 seconds left.
The Bulldogs forced three straight incomplete passes to end the game.
“The defensive kids kept making the plays, and held on,” Johnson said.
The score probably shouldn’t have been so close.
Baker had three other drives that advanced inside the Nyssa 20, but didn’t convert.
In the first half, Baker drove to the Nyssa 8, but missed a 23-yard field goal.
The Bulldogs then drove to the Nyssa 3 before turning the ball over on downs.
In the second half Baker again drove to the Nyssa 5 before turning the ball back to Nyssa.
“We weren’t very effective in the red zone (inside the opponent’s 20),” Johnson said.
Shirtcliff finished 18-of-31 for 276 yards. Riley Flanagan caught seven passes for 95 yards, and Smith five for 104 yards.
“It was a great start for these kiddos,” Johnson said.
“The kids all made contributions.”
Baker (1-0) hosts Homedale Friday.
Nyssa - 6 0 0 0 — 6
Baker - 0 0 0 7 — 7
N — Sanchez 2 run (Pass failed)
B — Smith 12 pass from Shirtcliff (Rushton kick)
Rushing —Nyssa: Sanchez 12-98, Benson 12-79, Chavez 1-7, Menchaca 1-5, Draper 2-4, Woodruff 3-3, Cleaver 2-2, Ruiz 4-0. Baker: Hammans 18-44, Bloomer 3-5, Shirtcliff 3-(-8).
Passing —Nyssa: Draper 7-18-1-74. Baker: Shirtcliff 18-31-1-276.
Receiving —Nyssa: Sanchez 3-9, Woodruff 2-7, Dorathy 1-50, Cleaver 1-8. Baker: Flanagan 7-95, Smith 5-104, Lay 2-42, Hammans 2-1, Miller 1-24, Brashler 1-10.