On Halloween night, Maryville's Jonathan Baker treated the assembled crowd at the Hound Pound Wednesday to a quarterback performance for the ages.
No tricks were needed.
With a steady diet of crisp, on-time deliveries to mostly open receivers over two-plus quarters, Baker ended up with a single-game record of 343 yards and five touchdowns in No. 1 seed Maryville's 76-0 shellacking of fourth-seeded Kansas City Northeast in the Class 3 District 8 semifinals.
Baker, who was 19-22 through the air, also broke the school's career passing record by halftime and stayed in for one series in the third quarter to set the new single-season yardage record with 1,694.
"First off, the Lord has really blessed me my whole life," said Baker. "This is just another example of it. This is all about the team. I could not have done it without these guys. The way the team embraced me through my career and the way they followed me. It's just fun to lead these guys. It's truly an honor and a blessing."
Lining up in the shotgun on nearly every play, Baker did most of his damage in a first half that ended with the Hounds ahead 48-0. He completed 15-17 passes for 311 yards with five touchdowns and 5-yard rushing score.
The five touchdowns were a career-high and boost his season total to 26.
"He's a great young man," said Maryville head coach Matt Webb. "His skill set is very good. He makes good decisions with the football, and he doesn't hurt you. That's what you want in a quarterback. I'd take Jonathan Baker any day of the week. He's a fine young man and a great leader on our team."
Baker's first two scoring tosses went to tight end Ridge Yount on plays of 20 and 21 yards. The next two were directed at Kyle Leslie from nine and 31 yards out.
Brody McMahon scored from 34 yards out on a forward toss jet sweep to give Baker his fifth touchdown pass.
Leslie was Maryville's leading receiver with 118 yards on seven catches and two touchdowns. Yount finished with six catches for 88 yards and two touchdowns. McMahon and Derek Stiens had a light night running the ball, but combined for five catches and nearly 100 yards with a touchdown.
"Yards after the catch were huge tonight," said Baker. "You can't say enough about those guys. It starts upfront. But when I get those guys the ball, they do some magical things with it. It's truly an honor to throw to them and the biggest thing is how many years I've had with them growing up together. It helps the chemistry."
Scoring on all but one of its first half drives, Maryville (11-0) finished with a new-season high in points for the second straight week and the 76-point margin of victory was its largest of the season.
The defense pitched its third shutout of the year and came up with six turnovers, including five on interceptions.
One resulted in a pick-six by Yount and Tripp returned a fumble for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Northeast (7-4) had four first downs on its first two drives, but finished with just eight and totaled 111 yards.
"That's a very athletic team," said Webb. "They got some guys that really play. They're very skill-oriented. When you play a game like that, you wan to get used to the speed early. Once we adjusted it went well."
Maryville scored on three of four first quarter drives and finished the period up 26-0.
The Hounds took the lead within the first minute when Baker hit Yount right in stride for a 21-touchdown. A missed extra point kept it at 6-0.
Northeast drove the ball down to Maryville's 26-yard line on its opening possession, but an errant throw on second down was picked off by Trent Nally.
Maryville moved deep into Northeast territory before a fumble by McMahon gave Northeast the ball back at its own 3.
The Vikings, after two first downs, tried a fake punt that came up four yards short.
And the Hounds capitalized two players later with Baker's second scoring connection to Yount from 20 yards out.
After another unsuccessful fake punt, the Hounds went up 20-0 on a 9-yard touchdown by Leslie with less than a minute left in the first.
On Northeast's very next offensive play, Yount batted a pass from quarterback Jamell Tunley in the air, caught the deflection and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown.
Baker's 5-yard run, a 31-yard touchdown pass to Leslie and McMahon's 34-yard touchdown followed by Baker's two-point conversion brought the score to 48-0 at the half.
Tripp's fumble return touchdown that occurred on Northeast's first series of the third quarter made it 55-0.
After the first of two interceptions by Dalton Pistole, Baker completed four passes for 32 yards down to the 5-yard line, giving him the single-season passing yardage record.
Stiens scored on the next play for a 62-0 lead that stood until the fourth.
In the final quarter, Trent Dredge scored on a 1-yard run and freshman Dakota Beemer cut back across the field for a 53-yard touchdown to cap the scoring with one minute left.
Maryville will play for the District 8 title against No. 6 seed St. Pius X Monday at the Hound Pound.
St. Pius won its semifinal game over Cameron 21-20, improving to 5-6.
The Hounds beat St. Pius X 43-7 in the season's second week at the Hound Pound.
By Joey Falkoff email@example.com
The Maryville Daily Forum - Maryville, MO
By Joey Falkoff firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated Nov. 1, 2012 @ 12:53 am
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