BAKER — Twelve years have passed since Baker School’s football team won a district championship.
A Gator win at Northview gives Baker (8-0, 2-0) the District 1-1A title it has been without for so long.
The district showdown starts at 7 p.m. on the Northview High School campus in Bratt.
Northview is coming off a 26-12 loss to Walton. And Baker remained unbeaten Friday night as D.J. Thomas ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns and Jon Beck threw three touchdown passes in 54-13 win over Franklin County.
Beating the Chiefs (3-4, 2-0), the defending Class 1A state champions, will be easier said than done.
"They had a tough time getting a schedule and they ended up playing the likes of Choctaw, Walton (and) Marianna," Baker Coach Matt Brunson said. "And their 1A loss came at the hands of Chipley, which is a pretty good team too.
"The main thing is we are in the playoffs. A win gives us the District 1-1A championship, which it's been a while since we won around here. And it gives us home-field advantage in the playoffs."
Brunson said the Chiefs will rely on senior all-purpose back Neino Robinson to spark Nortview’s offense. Baker must be mindful of Northview quarterback Daulton Tullis, who has thrown for more than 1,200 yards this season.
"They run a little double wing veer that is very tough and they run the spread as well," Brunson said. "They have Neino Robinson, who is the brother of Nieko Robinson, that signed with Penn State last year.
"So we are going to have our hands full. But at the same time, our guys are battle tested and they are ready. I think our style of play bodes well against what they do."
The Chiefs will operate out of a 5-2 defense.
"They are very big up front, and they are athletic on the perimeter," Brunson said. "If you hang a ball (pass) up in the air, they definitely have got some ball hawks in the secondary."
Brunson believes the Gators can win the game and can force the Chief ball carriers inside.
He said he couldn't have written a better script for the team.
"We are right where we wanted to be when this thing started," Brunson said. "D.J. is healthy and our offensive line is raring to go. Our fullbacks have played great and they are healthy.
"Defensively, we peaked at the right time. Whatever happens Friday night, we are in the playoffs. It's just going to determine whether we are district champions and at home, or if we are on the road in the first round."
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.
WANT TO GO?
What: Baker at Northview
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Directions: Take Highway 4 west to U.S 29 (approximately 39-40 miles). Take left (south) on U.S. 29. Take 1 mile to Highway 4, and then a right on Highway 4 about 9 miles. School will be on right.