BAKER — Blountstown’s offense was just too explosive.

Too fast. Too multi-dimensional.

Screens, shovel passes, end arounds, quarterback keepers and a Denzel Washington-led backfield sharing the wealth … with a 1A state finals berth on the line, the Tigers opened up the playbook at Baker’s house.

The Gators had no answer in a 41-21 Final Four loss that featured four touchdowns from Washington, six Blountstown rushing touchdowns and 450 yards of offense from the visitors to Doug Griffith Stadium.

The rout not only avenged last year’s 21-20 Final Four loss in Blountstown, it continued a trend in the rivalry where the visitors have won four straight.

But Brunson knew this win wouldn’t come easily, saying in the week leading up to the contest that it would be “four-quarter war.”

It was. Only his 12-1 crew came out bloodied, while the 11-1 Tigers were already booking their travel plans to play Madison County Thursday at noon for the 1A title at Camping World Stadium.

After Blountstown’s final score of the night, an incredulous Zach Brown, Baker’s leading tackler, returned to the sideline and voiced his frustration.

“They run the ball every freaking time,” said the senior linebacker.

And run it well, the backfield piling up 364 yards of offense. But that’s Blountstown’s modus operandi.

The Tigers’ deep backfield entered the night averaging 291 rushing yards and four touchdowns per game en route to outscoring foes 450-105. Their only blip was a 35-21 loss to 3A Final Four qualifier Florida High way back on Sept. 1. Ever since then, they had recorded four shutouts and hadn’t allowed 21 or more points until Friday night.

Those 21 points allowed didn’t even make a dent into what the offense did Friday night. And it was an offense that shared the wealth.

Washington’s 86 rushing yards and four scores – giving him 17 on the year – may be the stat line that stands out most, but he had help.

Kevon Godwin had a touchdown and 77 yards, including scampers of 29 and 20 yards. Treven Smith had 126 yards, including a 66-yard run up the gut and a 30-yard gain that would’ve been 70 to the house had he not fumbled and recovered the ball on a breakaway.

Quarterback Trent Peacock also had 58 rushing yards and a 10-yard touchdown, which accented a 6-for-6, 86-yard effort through the air.

On a night when it had to be perfect, Baker’s offense was off.

Credit Blountstown. Or just chalk it up as an off-night for Baker’s offensive line and Kalee Ciurleo, who entered with six touchdowns in the postseason but was 3-for-14 through the air for 94 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

Junior McLaughlin shined again with 212 all-purpose yards (131 rushing, 81 receiving) and a 68-yard touchdown reception, and Jayson Moore added two touchdowns and 62 rushing yards, but Baker was caught playing catch-up all night after a rough start.

A sack, an overthrown ball and a dropped pass set the tone for Baker’s offense, which went three-and-out on the opening drive.

Then came a 9-minute, 64-yard drive by the Tigers, who overcame four penalties and got a 1-yard Washington touchdown run to pull ahead 7-0.

Then, following Moore’s 5-yard answer, Washington punched in a 16-yard touchdown up the right side for a 14-7 lead.

Later, after Moore answered again with a 5-yard touchdown run, Godwin delivered a 5-yard run up the gut for a 21-13 advantage.

Its defense being methodically picked apart, it didn’t help that Ciurleo was intercepted by Washington at Blountstown’s 5-yard line right before the half.

Baker had its chances to start the second half, forcing a three-and-out out of the locker rooms. But Blountstown’s defense forced a punt and then got an 8-yard Washington score to lead 28-13.

McLaughlin answered with a 68-yard touchdown reception on a wheel route and the Gators converted on the two-point conversion to make the deficit a manageable 28-21, but Smith answered with a 66-yard run to set up Washington’s 4-yard touchdown and later Peacock took a keeper 10 yard to paydirt in the fourth quarter to put the nail in the coffin.

As stacked as Blountstown’s résumé entering the night, Baker’s was equally so. The Gators outscored Jay and Chipley by a 90-34 margin, making it a 536-204 margin of victory on the season en route to a 12-0 mark and a third straight Final Four. No team had played Brunson’s crew to within a single possession.

Until now. Now the Gators are staying home. Yet again so close to state glory.