BAKER – It’s been tagged the “War on Highway 4” and Friday night was no different as the Baker Gators and Jay Royal went head-to-head for almost three hours of football with the Gators winning the war 49-27.
“It was a great high school game,” said Baker Coach Matt Brunson.
“It’s been a war of sorts and has been called the War on Highway 4 and it was no different tonight,” Brunson said.
“But I think our guys are in very good shape and we had a good second half,” which made the difference, he said.
Nevertheless, Brunson said his hat is off to the Jay Royal coaching staff and team.
“There guys played hard.”
Baker put up 454 total yards on offense with 285 coming on the ground with Junior Mclaughlin leading the way with 102 yards in nine carries. Jayson Moore rushed nine times for 72 yards including three touchdowns, and Jalen Ciurleo rushed nine times for 61 yards and two TDs.
Gator quarterback Payton Rockwell completed nine of 15 passes for 169 yards and one 30-yard TD strike to Derek Peoples Jr.
Jay on the other hand had 314 yards total offense with 170 on the ground and 144 through the air. The workhorse for the Royals was James Eddings who carried the ball 31 times for 124 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Conner Moye completed eight of 18 for 144 yards and three TDs.
Baker got on the board on their first possession with Moore breaking loose around the left end for a 12-yard TD run. Bryan Holley’s kick was good for a 7-0 start.
The Gators stopped the Royals on their second possession with Peoples picking off a pass. Baker failed to capitalize and turned it over on downs.
Jay with the ball again took care of business and marched it down the field in six plays with Moye connecting with Judd Smith for a 9-yard catch and run for the score. The point after was no good for a 7-6 game.
Baker came right back with a TD of its own with Moore running right up the middle for a 39-yard scamper to the end zone. PAT was good for a 14-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
At the start of the second, Jay put together a long drive making four first downs before Moye was picked off by Baker’s Mclaughlin who ran it back 63 yards.
The Gators sputtered a bit but finally found the end zone on a 9-yard run by Ciurleo. The kick after was wide right for a 20-6 game.
Jay stayed in the war and came back with a 56-yard catch and run from Connor Moye to Brandon Moye for the score. The Royals went for two and it was 2-14 game.
At the start of the third quarter, Baker fumbled on the first play from scrimmage and Jay scored eight plays later on a 33-yard pass from Moye to Lucas Martin. The PAT was good and Jay took its only lead of the game.
Baker answered with two back-to-back scores Mclaughlin with a 35 yard run and then Rockwell connected with Peoples for a 30-yard strike. Baker led 35-21.
In the fourth quarter, Baker scored two more times. Cuirleo scored on a 14-yard run and Moore got the last TD on a 1-yard plunge up the middle that was set up by a 32-yard catch by Mclaughlin at the 1-yard line.
Jay slipped in a touchdown between the last two Baker scores, on a 4-yard run by Eddings.