BAKER CITY - Baker defeated Mac-Hi in an Oregon Class 4A play-in Friday night, beating the Pioneers 54-7 in below freezing conditions.
Despite posting the exact same score against Ontario on Oct. 28, Mac-Hi coach Chuck Pease said there was a night and day difference between the two matches.
"There was a lot of heart, everyone that was playing and on the sidelines, there was a lot of heart," Pease said. "You could tell it at practice on the bus ride down, they put everything they could into it."
Pease said that despite the big score, he felt the game could have been much closer.
"They've (Baker) got really good athletes, a few breaks our way and it could have been the closest game in who knows when," Pease said. "They really played the game. They played to win, that was the approach that I liked."
But despite the increased effort, they were still playing the defending state champions.
Baker scored 40 points in the first half, and with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Braden Philips late in the third, enacted the 45-point mercy rule with just over a quarter to play.
The Pioneers completed only one pass on seven attempts, a 17-yarder to Francisco Saldana. Pease said the Bulldogs put extra defenders in the box and pressured quarterback Chase Copenhaver.
Copenhaver led the Pioneers in rushing with 51 yards on 6 carries; as a team Mac-Hi tallied 105 yards on the ground on 26 attempts.
Mac-Hi's lone score came with 50 seconds left in the game as senior Francisco Saldana took a 3-yard push across the goal line to avoid the shutout.
Mac-Hi did not originally think it would even be playing Friday night, but thanks to a system the Oregon State Activities Association uses which takes into account the Pioneers' strength of schedule they found themselves in a rematch with Baker. Baker previously beat the Pioneers 67-22 on Oct. 14.
The loss puts Mac-Hi at 1-8 to end the season.
"It was a good way to end the season and go forward when we didn't think we would be playing," Pease said. "I know its going to put a spark back into the approach that everyone is taking (this offseason)."
It was 22 degrees on the field when play started, but by the time the game ended it dropped down to 16. Baker had 4 inches of snow prior to the game but the field had been plowed, leaving only trace amounts of snow.
Baker 54, Mac-Hi 7
Mac 0 0 0 7 - X
Bak 20 20 8 6 - 54
Bak - Richards 3 run (kick failed).
Bak - Hamilton 17 pass from Philips (Philips run).
Bak - Hamilton 30 pass from Philips (kick failed).
Bak - Richards 2 run (kick failed).
Bak - Philips 25 pass from Bachman (Philips kick).
Bak - Richardson 4 run (Philips kick)
Bak - Osborn 17 pass from Philips (Richardson run)
Bak - Taylor 17 pass from Hamilton (kick failed).
Mac - Saldana 3 run (Saldana Kick).
First downs 7
Passing yards 17
Passes (att-comp-int) 7-1-0
RUSHING - Mac: Hodgen 6-16, Dombrosky 4-11, Copenhaver 6-51, Saldana 6-12 touchdown, Warne 2-15.
PASSING - Mac: Copenhaver 1-7-0 17 yards.
RECEIVING - Mac: Saldana 1-17.