Baker head football coach: 'We are back' following district title


From left: Baker head football coach Matt Brunson pumps his fist in a victory celebration as the clock ticks down against Northview on Friday. Gator fans stream onto Northview High School's field on Friday to celebrate Baker's win over the Chiefs that gave the Gators their first district title since 2001.

Published: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 04:29 PM.

BAKER — There was a time when winning district and state championships was common for Baker School's football team. The Gators are the proud winners of 15 district titles and four state crowns.

But the last decade hasn't been kind to Baker, which, prior to Friday night's 24-20 win over Northview, hadn't won a district title since 2001.

Gator head coach Matt Brunson, who is in his third year at his alma mater, has played a key role in much of Baker's success. He was a player on the state championship teams in the mid-1980s and the Gator defensive coordinator when they won the state title in 1993.

Friday's win was especially sweet for Brunson.

"It was a great win for Baker," he said. "I've been a part of some great football teams and in some great football games. But none is sweeter than this one: turning around a 12-year drought and winning district championship at my alma mater is awesome."

For Baker seniors who were in kindergarten in 2001, the championship is a sign they helped return Baker to its former glory.

Senior defensive end Izayaih Thomas said the hard work the Gators have put in the last three years has paid off.

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