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Baker dismantles Pirates

HILLSBORO — Technically, it wasn't over until there was no time remaining on the scoreboard.

But for the few hundred spectators at Liberty High School on a brisk Saturday evening, the game was all but over after the first 10 minutes.

Seventh-ranked Baker scored touchdowns on its first three possessions — racking up 246 yards on its first 11 plays — to spark a 57-14 rout of unranked Phoenix in a Class 4A state semifinal football game.

"We came out slow," junior Justin Bohn said. "We started hanging our heads a little bit after that."

The Pirates (8-3) gave up more points in that opening quarter than they had allowed since their last loss — 33-18 to North Bend on Sept. 25. In the end, the Bulldogs (11-1) set a school record for points and margin of victory in a playoff game.

For Phoenix, which trailed 57-0 before a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, it was the worst loss in its playoff history in terms of points allowed and deficit.

"It wasn't a lack of intensity. It wasn't a lack of effort. And it wasn't a lack of heart," said Phoenix coach Toby Walker, whose squad was outgained 292 to 47 in rushing yards.

"Baker physically beat us in all phases of the game."

The Baker duo of juniors Stephen Talbot and Jesse Brown, whose team faces top-ranked Marist (13-0) for the championship next Saturday, played a part in seven of the Bulldogs' eight touchdowns.

"Our linemen opened holes for everybody," said Talbot, who rushed for a game-high 155 yards and two touchdowns and returned the opening kickoff of the second half 82 yards for a score.

"It feels pretty amazing."

Brown rushed for two touchdowns and passed for two scores.

"That team is a great," Phoenix senior Skyler Reagan said. "They are probably the best team I've ever seen in my football career."

To add to the Pirates' woes, senior quarterback Chris Kammel, who was the Skyline Conference offensive player of the year, didn't play in the second half after sustaining a concussion. By the time he exited the locker room early in the second half, Baker had extended its 36-0 halftime lead to 50-0 only 32 seconds into the third quarter.

"We played as hard as we can," Kammel said. "Nobody expected us to go as far as we did. We played our heart out."

The loss also snapped the Pirates' six-game winning streak, during which they had allowed only 64 points.

However, Walker said the sour taste from the ugly defeat doesn't diminish the success the program enjoyed this season.

After a late hire, and in his first year at the helm, Walker led the Pirates to an undefeated Skyline Conference season, grabbing the conference crown for the first time since 2005.

That year was also the last time Phoenix reached the state semifinals, and the Pirates' eight victories this season matched the previous three seasons combined.

"The growth of the program, the growth of the kids over this year is immeasurable," said Walker, who was named the Skyline Conference coach of the year and had the interim tag removed from his title a couple weeks ago.

"Both in wins and losses, and even more just mentally and (in) confidence."

There were a couple of bright spots on Saturday as well. Notably the fourth quarter, when Phoenix held Baker to 12 yards of total offense during a running clock.

The Pirates also connected on a pair of passing scores, with Bohn hooking up with Reagan for a 5-yard touchdown to end the shutout and later a 54-yard score to senior Todd Snyder to cap the scoring.

"After that halftime, when you are coming out and you're down 34, 40, it's about pride," said Reagan, who finished with a game-high nine receptions for 89 yards. "It's about keeping the Pirate name. The Pirates haven't been here in a while. It's nice to be here. Make a statement. Don't go out in a bad way.

"It was a great season for all of us. The young guys are going to be really great next year. I could see them coming back here."

Phoenix 0 0 0 14 — 14

Baker 22 14 21 0 — 57

B — Talbot 81 run (Talbot run)

B — Brown 6 run (Smith kick)

B — Richardson 83 pass from Brown (Smith kick)

B — Brown 6 run (Smith kick)

B — Smith 22 run (Smith kick)

B — Talbot 82 kickoff return (Smith kick)

B — Talbot 3 run (Smith kick)

B — Barr 3 fumble return (Smith kick)

P — Reagan 5 pass from Bohn (Hernandez kick)

P — Snyder 54 pass from Bohn (Hernandez kick)

Reach reporter Shawn Miller at 776-4469, or e-mail smiller@mailtribune.com

Phoenix starting quarterback Chris Kammel, right, and teammate Justin Bohn console each other after Saturday's game. - Photo by Matthew Ginn