BAKER – The Baker football team opens District 1-1A play Friday night when the Gators host Freeport at Doug Griffith Memorial Stadium with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
The Gators (3-2, 0-0) are coming off a tough 32-21 loss to Bozeman, but Baker coach Matt Brunson was able to find a silver lining in the cloud of defeat as his team turns its attention to the Bulldogs and the start of district play.
“We got beat by a good Bozeman team, but we take a lot of positives out of that game,” he said. “Hopefully we can build on the positives and straighten out the negatives and get ready for Freeport.
“We rushed for a little over 200 yards and the offensive line play was very good. We came away with no turnovers, but we did have a punt blocked for a touchdown and we gave up some plays in the passing game. But overall, we shut them down to about 60 yards rushing and we rushed ourselves.”
Brunson said that the way the Gators ran the football and defended the run was good enough to win most ball games and he is hoping his team will continue to run the ball well against Freeport.
Freeport (2-3, 0-0) won last year’s game 17-14 on a field goal in overtime and Brunson is expecting another classic between the Bulldogs and Gators.
“Both (Freeport) coach (Jim) Anderson and myself, we are not going to change a whole lot because we do what our kids can do and we do what we believe in,” Brunson said. “I think you can take a lot from last year’s game and I think it will be a war again.
“We have to contain their quarterback. Gabe Moore cannot get on the edge and gain yards with his feet. We’ve got to force him into passing situations and make him throw it because when he breaks contain is when he is the most dangerous.”
Brunson said he hopes that the Gators will be able to utilize some lessons they learned against Bozeman as they try to shut down the Freeport attack.
With the Gator offensive line blocking well and the running attack hitting on all cylinders Brunson probably won’t try to fix something that isn’t broken, but that doesn’t mean the two coaches won’t pull out all of the stops to win.
“Jim Anderson will do a great job and he’ll have a few tricks up his sleeve and we will have a few of our own,” Brunson said. “We will roll the dice and think the game will come down to the same things as last year’s game of who makes the plays.”
With only three district games, Brunson knows how important it is to open district play with a win and he is expecting another classic battle between the Gators and Bulldogs.
“If you want to get in the playoffs you’ve got to win two-our-of-three and the first one is going to be huge,” he said. “It’s going to be an exciting game. I really do believe that.”