The Baker Bulldogs had been through the scenario before, but with a less positive outcome. Down 12-0 early in the first half to Giaudrone, the Bulldogs came up big this time, fighting back to take a 13-12 win over the Huskies at home on April 19.
“One of the fundamentals we’re trying to work in with these kids is to not give up,” said Baker head coach Karl Berggren, noting a loss to Stewart in the first game of the season in which his squad went down 12-0 early. “Today was the perfect situation…they finally got their minds to understand they can come back from anything.”
Baker seemed to grab the momentum after their first offensive possession, as the Bulldogs’ Alijah Sokimi dove for an interception at Baker’s five-yard line on Giaudrone’s first play. But the Huskies got the ball back, and quarterback Tristan Kwon snuck in from three yards out after a four-play drive to make it 6-0 late in the first quarter. Cavon Holden quickly got the ball back for the Huskies on their own 30-yard line with an athletic interception, and two plays later D.J. Auston – who finished with 96 yards rushing – sprinted 71 yards almost untouched down the right sideline to make it 12-0.
But the Bulldogs got a key score just before halftime, launching an 11-play, 62-yard drive capped by Braxton Ballard-Swenson’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Trenton Mitchell on 4th-and-8 with under a minute left.
The Baker defense then stepped up in the second half, forcing a turnover on downs on Giaudrone’s first possession after the Huskies had driven past midfield.
“We started to bring our blitzes and our attack, and started to bring plays that they weren’t quite sure what to do with,” Berggren said. “We knew we needed to bring our style of defense back.”
Mitchell – who finished with 14 carries for 98 yards – led the Bulldogs back down the field, capping an eight-play drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge on the first play of the first quarter to give Baker their first lead at 13-12.
“I knew I was going to get it,” Mitchell said. “I was a little worried because I saw them stacked up, but I was like ‘I’m going to get in there.’”
After Giaudrone drove to the Bulldogs’ 42-yard line with three minutes left, Baker forced an incompletion on fourth down and was then able to run out the clock.
By Jeremy Helling
TRUMAN TOPS GRAY
It had been a tough road this season for the Truman Titans and head coach Amad Robinson, having lost consecutive games by seven and three points, respectively. But things finally went their way at home on April 19, as Jordan Lacy-Spaulding ran for 116 yards and a touchdown to propel the Titans to their first win of the season, a 20-14 triumph over the Gray Pilots.
“This season has been one of a lot of growing pains for our young team,” said Robinson, a former two-way standout at Wilson High School. “We have only 4 kids with any kind of football-playing experience.”
But Truman dominated play early, with Lacy-Spaulding doing the bulk of the work. The Titans got on the board early in the first quarter when quarterback Emmitt Matthews hit Spencer Roller with a 10-yard touch down pass, and Alexander Greenleaf made the point after for a 7-0 Truman lead.
While Lacy-Spaulding would grab most of the attention in the first half, the Truman defense did their part too, as Gray quarterback Donald Scott Jr. went 0-for-5 with an interception. The Titans picked up where they left of in the third quarter, driving 48 yards in eight plays, with quarterback Alex Motonaga hitting Nick Kolterman with a 26-yard scoring strike to make it 14-0. Lacy-Spaulding would put the icing on the cake in the fourth quarter with a 32-yard touchdown run, dodging five Gray defenders during the play.
The Pilots made a late comeback charge, as Scott Jr. hit Michael Nelson with a 54-yard touchdown pass to trim the Titan lead to 20-14 late in the fourth quarter. But the Titans would recover an onside kick with 10 seconds left to preserve the win. Lacy-Spaulding, who is still relatively new to his position, talked about adapting to running back and the season to this point. “I’m not real big, as far as running backs go,” he said, “but I’m getting used to position real fast.
“This (win) was huge, our offensive line gave me some great running lanes today and I’m hoping to carry this into the last game of the season.”
By Steve Mullen