MILTON-FREEWATER - The Bakerer Bulldogs shellacked the Pioneers at Mac-Hi's homecoming here Friday at Shockman Field, 67-22, in the Greater Oregon League opener for both teams.
The reigning Oregon Class 4A state champ Bulldogs were led by junior quarterback Braden Phillips, who passed for over 250 yards and helped account for five touchdowns. Phillips ran two for touchdowns, and threw for three more.
The big-play passing attack of the Bulldogs was more than Mac-Hi could endure. Phillips was 17-for-21 and had 10 pass plays of 10 yards or more.
The robust running game of Bakerer also hurt Mac-Hi, as senior tailback Colten Richards racked up 137 yards on the ground on just 12 carries.
The Pioneers did little early to help their chances with the first five Mac-Hi possessions ending badly. The Pioneers lost a fumble at their own 3-yard line on their intitial drive. A play later and it was 6-0 Bulldogs.
The next drive stalled quickly for Mac-Hi and they punted. The Bulldogs again scored quickly, and a Mac-Hi interception led to another Bulldog score to make it 18-0 before the end of the first quarter.
A successful onside kick by the Bulldogs led to another score, and on the ensuing Pioneer possession a bad snap caused a safety.
It was 26-0, halfway through the second quarter.
"We lost the game in that first half when we couldn't snap the ball correctly or keep control of the ball," Mac-Hi coach Chuck Pease said. "That was pretty poor."
Phillips ran in two more touchdowns before the half on quarterback sneaks after Bulldog drives and it was 40-0 at the intermission.
"We got off to a really slow start," Pease said. "Slower than I thought we would. Take nothing away from Bakerer, they won the state championship last year and they were the runner-up the year before.
"That was a good team we played tonight - well-coached and well-disciplined."
The second half didn't start much better for Mac-Hi as two of its drives stalled on a fumble and interception, leading to more scoring for the Bulldogs.
"We made some mistakes," Pease said. "Some crucial mistakes. We lost focus on some things, but they were things that can be corrected with time. I played a lot of youth. We had a lot of young guys in the ball game."
The Pioneers did pick up their scoring attack in the fourth quarter with three touchdowns, leading to 22 points on two successful 2-point tries. The game was already out of reach with the running clock on the 45-point deficit, but nonetheless the Pioneers outscored the Bulldogs 22-7 in the fourth quarter.
"I liked what I saw in the second half competition-wise," Pease said. "I liked what I saw with the guys facing adversity with what they were up against and the odds that they faced."
With just seconds left in the third quarter, the first successful Pioneer drive started at their own 41-yard line. With a trio of ball carriers including Francisco Saldana, Tavis Hodgen and Jacob Morris, Mac-Hi picked up chunks on the ground into the red zone and the ball was punched in by Hodgen from 10 yards out.
The 2-point play was good on a pass from sophomore quarterback Chase Copenhaver to tight end Jacob Podoski.
After a punt by the Bulldogs, Copenhaver would hit wide receiver Patrick Sheets on a fly pattern up the right sideline for 31 yards. On the next play, Copenhaver took it to the house on the quarterback run-option play from 21 yards away. The 2-point pass play was good again.
After the kickoff, Morris intercepted back-up Bulldogs quarterback Thomas Hamilton's pass to retain possession for Mac-Hi deep in Bakerer territory.
Soon after the pick, Hodgen went 20 yards on the scoring charge on the ground to make it 60-22.
"I'm proud of the life skills that they've learned this season," Pease said. "And this game, showing a lot of character against adversity. Our guys didn't fail on a lack of effort, they tried and over-tried. We're still young and have some learning to do."
About two minutes remained in the game, and the Bulldogs were able to score a final touchdown to push the winning score to 67 before the game's end.
"I'm optimistic about our chances for the rest of the season," Pease said. "We've got to do well in our next two league games and win one to get a play-in game for the state playoffs."
The Pioneers play on the road against La Grande Friday at 7 p.m., and then return home the following week to host Ontario. Both games are GOL matchups.
"We look at the preseason and the regular season as two different seasons," Pease said. "This was the start of the second season with league and we've still got some work to do."
The Pioneers are now 0-1 in the GOL.
Bakerer 67, Mac-Hi 22
Bakerer 18 22 20 7 - 67
Mac-Hi 0 0 0 22 - 22
Baker - Richards 3 run (kick failed).
Baker - Bachman 11 pass from Phillips (pass failed).
Baker - Averett 38 pass from Phillips (run failed).
Baker - Safety.
Baker - Elwanger 26 pass from Phillips (pass failed).
Baker - Phillips 1 run (Averett catch).
Baker - Phillips 1 run (kick failed).
Baker - Bachman 23 pass from Phillips (Taylor kick).
Baker - Phillips 5 run (Taylor kick).
Baker - Taylor 6 run (Taylor kick).
Mac-Hi - Hodgen 10 run (Podoski catch).
Mac-Hi - Copenhaver 20 run (Podoski catch).
Mac-Hi - Hodgen 20 run (pass failed).
Baker - Elwanger 26 pass from Hamilton (Taylor kick).
First downs 18 5
Rushes/yards 22-188 22-98
Passing yards 276 54
Passes (att-com-int) 18-22-0 6-12-2
Punts 1-29 3-97
Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-2
Penalties-yards 5-42 6-40
RUSHING - Baker: Richards 12-137, Phillips 4-(-2), Taylor 2-18, Baxter 3-30, Averett 1-7. Mac-Hi: Saldana 6-4, Copenhaver 5-27, Morris 4-7, Dombrosky 2-2, McCoy 1-(-4), Hodgen 8-69.
PASSING - Baker: Phillips 17-21, 250 yards, 2 touchdowns, Hamilton 1-1, 26 yards, 1 touchdown. Mac-Hi: Copenhaver 6-12, 54 yards.
RECEIVING - Baker: Bachman 6-68, Hamilton 4-45, Osborn 2-32, Elwanger 2-52, Averett 1-28. Mac-Hi: Morris 1-(-6), Kessler 2-27, Podoski 1-3, Sheets 1-31.