BAKER — Junior McLaughlin scored four touchdowns and Class 1A Baker defeated Rutherford for the second straight year, 36-14 on Friday night in high school football.
The Gators, 3-0 and ranked No. 2 in 1A, appeared to take complete control when they scored with less than a minute to go before halftime to lead 21-0.
That’s when Rutherford emotionally got back into the game with a touchdown before intermission.
Quarterback Reggie Tubbs passed to running back James Caldwell for 54 yards to Baker’s 6, then hit De’Aundre Akins on a slant pass for the touchdown. It was 21-7 at the half, and Rutherford coach Loren Tillman thought the Rams, 1-3, might have wrested away momentum.
" I was hoping we did, going right down the field in under a minute to score," Tillman said. "But we didn’t capitalize in the second half."
McLaughlin made sure of that when he broke a 60-yard scoring run on Baker’s first series of the third quarter. That reopened a 28-7 spread, and Rutherford’s lone response of the second half was a scoring pass from Tubbs to Brian Edwards.
"We had a hard time all night long, we didn’t tackle well, we didn’t block well," Tillman said.
"We had an epidemic of missed tackles. (McLaughlin) was a patient runner, but when there was a cutback lane we’d be in a spot to make a tackle and we’d stop our feet and go to arm tackling."
McLaughlin also had a punt return to a touchdown.
Rutherford plays another Class 1A power when it hosts Port St. Joe next week at Bozeman.