SAND HILLS — Homecoming King Jacob Martinez passed for 306 yards and Bozeman used special teams to seal a win over Baker on Friday night.
The Bucks scored on a blocked punt and added field goals at the end of each half to secure a 32-21 victory in a non-district game. Baker fell to 3-2, while Bozeman improved to 4-1 a week after dropping its first game to Holmes County.
“There are different ways to win a football game,” Bozeman coach Loren Tillman said. “The kicking game was big, period, we scored 12 points off of it and that’s not including the extra points.”
Jordan Burns’ 22-yard field goal with less than two minutes to play capped the scoring. His second field goal came after Baker turned the ball over on downs on a march that could have potentially tied the game.
Adam Crowson, who was 3 of 11 for 25 yards, rushed for a 5-yard score with 6:22 left to draw Baker within 29-21. Bozeman lost its second fumble on the next drive, but the defense stiffened.
The teams helped each other in the first half with two turnovers leading to touchdowns. Bozeman had trouble holding onto the ball with an early fumbled exchange recovered by Kris Kenney in the end zone for the game’s first score.
Bozeman gave Baker the ball at its 9 after a fumbled pitch on the Bucks’ second possession. D.J. Thomas caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Crowson to give Baker a 14-7 lead four plays later with 11:09 to play in the first half.
Bozeman used Kenney’s blocked punt and Daniel Taylor’s 42-yard return to break a 14-14 tie seven minutes later. Erik Benjamin’s extra point was wide to leave the tally 20-14 in favor of Bozeman.
Bozeman was backed up at its 12 following a punt with two minutes left in the second quarter. The Bucks were able to move out of trouble with two long runs by Martinez and a 32-yard pass to Jovani Bell. Burns’ 30-yard field goal with no time remaining gave Bozeman a 23-14 halftime lead.
The third quarter grinded to a halt for both teams. Bozeman couldn’t extend the lead and Baker couldn’t chip into the advantage.
“This was a game against two good teams,” Baker coach Matt Brunson said. “I’m proud of my team’s effort, but we’ll put this one behind us and move forward.”
Thomas led all rushers with 85 yards on 18 carries. Bozeman didn’t have much success on the ground, save Martinez’s 71 yards and a score. Tillman said the plan was to throw and he felt the Bucks could be successful.
Martinez proved they could be with 15-of-26 passing and one TD. Tommy Cook had 80 yards and a TD and hauled in a 43-yard offering to help set up the final field goal. David Elmore added 85 yards on five receptions for the Bucks.
Bozeman is off next week, while Baker plays Freeport.