Uniontown Lake 21 - Hoover 7
October 6, 2023
Steve Doerschuk, Canton Repository
Lake football’s Nate Baker hits Hoover with splash game; Viking QB Carson Dyrlund injured
Senior Nate Baker spilled the beans. He said the game plan for Hoover is the game plan for the remaining regular-season games against Perry and Green.
“The game plan is for everybody to do their one-11th,” Baker said as a big crowd filed out of Blue Streak Stadium. “Everybody do your best.”
Baker accounted for about nine-10ths of Lake’s 272 offensive yards, running for 187 yards (31 carries) and adding 43 receiving yards. On defense, he intercepted two passes after Hoover lost starting quarterback Carson Dyrlund to a hamstring injury late in the first half. He scored all three Lake touchdowns.
He counted it as his one-11th.
“I just want to thank my team for putting myself in position to be successful,” he said.
Lake improved to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the Federal League.
It is becoming a longshot the Blue Streaks will repeat as co-league champs with McKinley, since the 2023 Bulldogs are 5-0 with just one league game against left before their annual scrap against Massillon.
Lake would need to win out and get a GlenOak upset of McKinley to share the title again.
“We’re in the Federal League and we respect everyone who is,” Baker said. “We keep our head down and keep playing. We’ve got the playoffs to look forward to.
“If McKinley were to lose, it would help us, but it’s not something we’re praying on.”
“Most rushing yards by a Stark County player” isn’t a championship, but whatever you call it, Baker is a threat to get there.
Six weeks ago, Lake coaches changed Baker’s position on offense from receiver to running back. Friday’s splash pushed him to 974 rushing yards on the season.
At 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, Baker by size looks like a normal guy.
“He’s not a normal player,” Lake head coach Dan DeGeorge said. “He’s a great DB. He’s good on both sides of the ball.
“He’s one of the better overall players we’ve had here in a long time. Some colleges are missing out on him right now.
“To me he’s a Division I (college) player, but we’re glad he plays for us. He just wants to win games and be a good teammate.”
Lake-Hoover has been a good neighborhood fight. Hoover won 21-20 in 2021, 17-14 in 2020 and 38-35 in 2019. Lake won 35-15 last year and made it two in a row.
“Lake does a nice job defensively. They run the ball well and play solid defense,” Hoover head coach Brian Baum said after his team, out of the league race, fell to 4-4 overall.
Lake drove to the 16 to start the game but Hoover escaped damage via a doinked 33-yard field goal try.
A bit later, big back Charlie Christopher (6-1, 220) popped a 29-yard run. That set up a 19-yard TD pass from Cale Jarvis on which Baker got open by nearly 10 yards on the left side of the end zone.
With 9:46 left in the half, Dyrlund took off and neared a first down, but he pulled up short of the sticks and went down. He got up hopping on one foot and went to the bench grabbing his left hamstring with his right hand.
“He pulled it pretty good,” Baum said. “We went to Plan B.”
Junior Zac Braucher, who as a receiver caught 25 passes from Dyrlund across the last three games, became Hoover’s quarterback.
Dyrlund was examined on the sideline and walked back and forth testing his legs, but Braucher stayed in, and with four minutes left in the half, was intercepted by Baker.
That led to a fourth-and-2 from the 5 on which Baker made a quick read, knifed into a crease, and scored.
It was 13-0, Lake, as the half ran out and the teams ran off. Dyrlund was the only man left on the field as he limped to Hoover’s locker room. The third-year starter spent the second half on his feet but out of the game.
A surprising 12-play, 80-yard drive revived Hoover to start the second half. A 34-yard Braucher-to-Mason Ashby completion set up a 1-yard Braucher TD sneak. Lake’s lead shrank to 13-7.
Baker’s hard running, including a 37-yard breakaway, got Lake in scoring territory as the third quarter ended.
Celton Dutton’s 24-yard field goal try was blocked with 9:51 left, and it stayed 13-7.
With 7:09 left, on third-and-long, a Braucher bomb toward Ashby turned into Baker’s second interception.
This was a night when Baker turned up everywhere. His 2-yard TD run with 4:48 put this one away.
LAKE 21, HOOVER 7
Hoover – 0 – 0 – 7 – 0 — 7
Lake – 0 – 13 – 0 – 8 — 21
L—Baker 19 pass from Jarvis (Dutton kick)
L—Baker 5 run (kick failed)
H—Braucher 1 run (Koskovich kick)
L—Baker 1 run (Hunt pass from Jarvis)
H — L
First Downs — 9 — 15
Rushes-Yards — 26-73 — 46-189
Comp-Att-Int — 8-20-2 — 9-14-0
Passing Yards — 55 — 83
Fumbles-Lost — 1-0 — 1-0
Penalties-Yards — 2-10 — 6-59
Total Yards — 128 — 272
Records — 4-4, 1-3 — 6-2, 3-1
Source: Canton Repository