The Baker Spartans hosted the Manhattan Tigers Nov. 7 for the Class B quarter-final playoff game.
By Jordan Baxter
Baker started the game very physical. The Spartans’ defense shut down Manhattan’s passing offense. Both defenses were shutting down any offensive touchdowns until the end of the first quarter when Luke Gonsioroski broke loose with a 43 yard touchdown run. The extra point was good from Austin Braun to make it a 7-0 Spartan lead.
In the middle of the second quarter, Manhattan fired back with a four yard touchdown pass and extra point to tie the game, 7-7. With time winding down in the first half, Manhattan threw an interception to Jordan Baxter who took it back to the Tigers’ two yard line with two seconds remaining in the half. Joe Fisher punched in the two yard touchdown as time expired in the half to give the Spartans a 13-7 lead at halftime.
The Spartans started the third quarter with the ball and began to drive down the field after a great kick return by Kadon Gentilini to get into Manhattan territory. The drive ended as Luke Gonsioroski ran in for an eleven yard touchdown to make it a 19-7 lead. As the Tigers began to drive down the field, Kadon Gentilini intercepted a pass to give it back to the Spartans. The Spartans took advantage of the turnover and Luke Gonsioroski connected with Austin Braun with a 25 yard touchdown pass to make it a 25-7 Baker lead. At the end of the third, Manhattan scored a touchdown to make it 25-13 Baker.
Opening the fourth quarter, the Spartans had the ball and fumbled, giving it back to the Tigers. On the following play, the Tigers fumbled right back and Joe Fisher recovered and ran it 27 yards down the field to give the Spartans good field position in the fourth. Manhattan forced another Baker fumble and returned it back to their own 24 yard line. Manhattan then punched it in for the touchdown to make it a 10 point game, 31-21. Baker was not finished. On the next possession, Joe Fisher punched it in on a four yard touchdown run to make the score 37-21. With time winding down in the fourth, Matt Packer put the game away after intercepting the Tigers. The Spartans then kneeled the ball and ran off the remaining seconds of the game, and they defeated the Manhattan Tigers 37-21.
Offensively, rushing: Luke Gonsioroski was 33-176 yards, Joe Fisher 25-150 yards. Team rushing: 58-326 yards. Passing: Luke Gonsioroski was 1-5 for 25 yards and a TD. Receiving: Austin Braun had one catch for 25 yards and a TD.
Defensively, tackles: Andrew Craft 15, Matt Packer 13, Ben Fujimori 10. Interceptions: Matt Packer 2, Jordan Baxter 1, Austin Braun 1, Kadon Gentilini 1, Joe Fisher 1. Fumble recoveries: Josh Stutts 1, Joe Fisher 1.
The Spartans will travel to Fairfield Saturday, Nov. 14, to take on the Eagles in semi-final playoff action to try and advance to the state championship.