La Grande was potent on offense and stingy on defense Saturday night.
Even if the Tigers weren’t as consistent as they would have liked, what they showed was more than enough to take care of rival Baker.
Andrew Peasley threw for 247 yards and four touchdowns and ran for a fifth score and La Grande struck early and often on the way to a 43-14 victory over the Bulldogs in nonleague action at Community Stadium.
“Our offense was good, but then it would get bad on a drive,” Peasley said. “We need to be consistent with it. That’s one thing we’ll work on in practice is being more consistent — being more disciplined.”
The La Grande offense did indeed have its issues in the first quarter, fumbling the ball twice in a span of three offensive plays during a quarter that ended with the Tigers clinging to a 6-0 lead.
But when the offense came alive, the game turned in a hurry.
La Grande opened the second with an 82-yard, eight-play drive that ended with a 19-yard Isaac Chamberlain touchdown reception for a 13-0 lead. Kaden Chandler highlighted the drive with a 35-yard circus catch where he pinned the ball against a Baker defender and moved La Grande into Baker territory.
A six-yard run by Peasley and a 60-yard TD catch by a wide-open Cade Reed later in the second extended the lead to 27-0, and the rout was on.
“We have some weapons,” head coach Harold Shannon said. “I think it has to start up front, though. If we don’t protect, then our offense doesn’t go anywhere. We have to make sure we account for blitzers, and (that) everybody knows their blocking assignments up front...and then we can make some plays. We’ve got playmakers.”
The defense also got in on the act throughout the night. Chamberlain returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown, G.T. Blackman had a pick on the Bulldogs’ first drive of the game and the Tigers hounded Baker all night.
“He targeted the guy. I read his eyes. He left it right there and I took it,” Chamberlain said of his pick-six, which staked La Grande to a 43-6 lead on the first play of the final quarter.
The Bulldogs finished with just 147 yards as they struggled to find any semblance of an offense. Prior to a 51-yard scoring drive that got it on the board just before the half, Baker had gained just 15 yards.
“Once we focused on our defensive assignments I thought we were fine,” Shannon said. “The kids can make plays, and I want them to be confident that they know what their assignment is. I think that goes a long ways for letting them be aggressive, letting them fly to the ball when they know they’re doing the right thing.”
Reed led the receiving corps with 75 yards. Blackman added six catches for 58 yards and a first-quarter touchdown. Robinson added 49, 44 of which came on a long touchdown reception on the first play of the third quarter for a 34-6 lead.
La Grande (2-0 overall) hosts Sunnyside, Washington, Friday.