Cutting through the Minneapolis Washburn defense with relative ease, Ben Baker never doubted the outcome of Saturday's Class 4A, Section 3 semifinal football game.
The Holy Family quarterback averaged about seven yards per carry on the Millers' turf in a 34-27 victory that was closer than Baker made it out to be.
With the senior driving the offense and moving it as well, Baker closed out the game with a touchdown doing what he did best all night -- weaving through the Millers' line.
"We're confident we can win every game. We had no doubt," the quarterback said while fans chanted his name, eager for a chance to mob him. "I'm just glad our line blocked all night. They couldn't have been any better."
Holy Family used the final four minutes of the first half to build a nice cushion. The defense gave the Fire an advantage when lineman Conner Riddle intercepted Morley Mathewson on the Millers' 10-yard line and walked into the end zone.
After another defensive stand, the Holy Family offense closed out the half with another score. With seven seconds left on the clock, Baker connected for his first throwing touchdown, finding Derek Ogren for a 14-yard score.
The two quick TDs put Washburn in a big hole heading into the break, with speedy running back Jeff Jones hampered because of an injury. He would return to the game but carry the ball only three more times, twice for negative yards and for one final big gain of 38.
"It's never too late. We had a chance, and I believed in my teammates," an emotional Jones said after explaining he tore his hamstring last Wednesday. "But this is horrible."
Holy Family gave up two scoring opportunities by fumbling the ball within 15 yards of the end zone. The Fire's first drive of the game ended on a fumble and their last drive of the third quarter in the same fashion.
"Turnovers were the difference in the game," Holy Family coach Dave Hopkins said. "Getting those turnovers back negated ours."