BAKER — It looked as if Baker School was in good shape as the first quarter of Friday night’s football game against Walton High School ended.
The Gators led 27-13, but the night was still young, and the Braves were just getting started.
Walton scored 52 points in the final three quarters as senior running back Azende Rey led the Braves to a 65-48 win. Rey had 212 yards rushing on 22 carries and one pass reception for 47 yards en route to a six-touchdown performance.
The Braves, a Class 4A team, finished the game with 479 yards in total offense. Walton would have had more than 500 yards in offense if not for a bad snap on punt that set the Braves back 31 yards.
Baker, a 1A school, had 311 yards in total offense.
Gator Coach Matt Brunson isn’t used to seeing his defense give up 65 points. And he refused to use playing a 4A school coached by Jimmy Ray Stephens, a former offensive line coach at the University of Florida and the University of Tennessee, as an excuse for his team.
“There is no consolation in a loss,” Brunson said. “But we are proud of our offensive production, obviously. We definitely have some work to do defensively.
“We shouldn’t give up 65 against anybody, even Mr. Stephens.”
Walton’s speed was a big factor in the Braves scoring 65 points. Walton had four plays that went for more than 40 yards and two other plays that went for more than 30 yards.
Baker's only hope was to force Walton turnovers, and that’s how the Gators built the early lead.
Baker’s first two touchdowns came off Walton fumbles.
An Austin Davis score from two yards out, with 9:42 left in the first quarter, came after Baker recovered a bad snap by the Braves at the Walton 25-yard line.
Gator linebacker Oakley Kimbrell scored a touchdown on a 22-yard recovery of a Walton fumble 14 seconds after the Davis touchdown.
There would be no more breaks until midway through the third quarter when a snap, on what would have been Walton’s first punt, soared over Jace Fielder’s head, giving Baker a first and goal inside the 10-yard line. Three plays later, Montae Barto scored, cutting the Walton lead to 48-34, with 5:03 left in the third quarter.
Baker (2-2) never got closer as the Braves rolled to their season's fourth win.