Williams, defense carry McDonogh 35 past Baker in Class 3A quarterfinals

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BAKER – Senior running back Steveland Williams scored a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to lead McDonogh 35 to the LHSAA Class 3A semifinals Friday night with a 19-8 victory over No. 30 Baker at Wedge Kyes Stadium.

Williams ran for 169 yards on 18 carries to lift the No. 6 Roneagles to the road win.

Baker scored their lone touchdown on their opening drive of the game. Desmond Windon raced 44 yards to the end zone and the ensuing two-point conversion gave the Buffaloes a 8-0 lead halfway through the first period.

McDonogh 35 (10-3) notched their lone score of the first half came when quarterback Manuel Armstrong fired a shot to Renwick Doyle from 17 yards out to cut the deficit to 8-6. Baker maintained that lead until the final stanza.

“The 30th seed? I think something was wrong with the computer,” McDonogh 35 coach Wayne Reese said. “That’s not a good team. That’s a great team. They’re explosive,and they can score from anywhere on the field. They do everything well on defense. We knew they would fight until the end.”

Baker (7-5) rushed for 266 yards on 37 carries but the McDonogh 35 defense stepped up repeatedly to halt Baker on 4th downs including four times in the red zone.

“We’re very happy with our season because it installed some belief in these kids and the community. They saw the benefits of coming out and working hard,” Baker head coach Eric Randall said. “There’s nothing for them to hang their heads about. There were a lot more pros than cons.”

The Roneagles stopped Baker one yard short of the line to make with his team down just 12-8, giving McDonogh 35 the ball on the Buffaloes 30 en route to the final points of the night.

“We called the right plays but we just didn’t excute,” Randall said. “We had a lot of dropped passes that were right in the breadbasket.”

Baker was the first No. 30 seed or higher to advance to the quarterfinals since 2003 when Class 5A Huntington from Shreveport accomplished that feat.

McDonogh 35 will play for their first state title game appearance next week when they host No. 23 Jennings in the 3A semifinals at Pan American Stadium.

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