Before Clarkston took on Pullman, Bantams quarterback Kaeden Frazier gave receiver Steve Baiye some encouraging words.
Frazier recalled his advice this way: “I said, ‘You know, they’re going to pay a lot of attention to (fellow receiver) Tru (Allen). Steve, this is your game, you’ve gotta step up.’”
Baiye did just that, making a number of drive-propelling catches to help the the Bantams beat Pullman 23-14 on Friday at Adams Field.
Also doing his part, Allen reeled in two touchdown catches and the Bantams, who’d trailed 14-0 early to the Greyhounds, improved to 2-0 in the Great Northern League while dropping Pullman to 1-1.
Clarkston and Cheney remain the only GNL teams without a conference loss. This coming Friday, the Bantams will play host to the Blackhawks, who are 1-0 in the GNL.
In the fourth quarter, Baiye helped set up Clarkston’s final score with a diving, 44-yard reception with the Bantams facing fourth-and-long. His catch moved Clarkston into a fourth-and-1, which it converted with a direct snap to running back Eddie Berglund. On the next play, Will Sliger scored on a 10-yard run for the final difference with 10:41 left.
“The third-and-45 really swung momentum,” Pullman coach David Cofer said. “It’s 17-14 (Clarkston at that point), but they found a way to pick it up.”
Baiye set up another Clarkston score, making a 31-yard catch down the right sideline midway through the third to move Clarkston to Pullman’s 11-yard line. Several plays later, Baiye kicked a 27-yard field goal for a three-point Bantam lead.
“Steve had a couple (of) catches this week and last (week) that were just amazing,” Clarkston coach Brycen Bye said. “I’ve said it all year — our receiving corps is just so solid, we can get the ball to any of them and they’ll just make plays.”
That was the case out of the gates in the second half when Allen caught a 28-yard pass to move Clarkston to the Pullman 16. Two plays later, Allen streaked wide open down the middle of the field for a 15-yard touchdown catch that tied the game at 14 with 8:56 left in the third.
“They’d been playing the corner every time,” Allen said, “so I just faked (to) the corner, and Kaeden read it, and boom, touchdown.”
After falling down two possessions early in the fourth, the Greyhounds began pulling out all the stops. They attempted a double-pass that fell incomplete. They later gave star receiver Isaiah Strong — who was mostly limited to playing defense, with his right hand in a cast — a chance to run the ball. That gained Pullman 5 yards, but on the next play, quarterback Carson Coulter absorbed a sack from Sliger to force a Pullman three-and-out, foiling the Greyhounds’ best chance to make it a game with about half a quarter left.
Pullman got the ball back with 2:44 left but turned it over on downs with 44 seconds to go at the Bantam 40.
Clarkston’s Michael Harris notched sacks on two of Pullman’s final seven offensive plays.
In addition to Isaiah Strong, Pullman played without running back Evan Strong, who’d “banged up” his knee last week, Cofer said.
Pullman 14 0 0 0—14
Clarkston 0 7 10 6—23
Pullman — Ethan Kramer 32 pass from Carson Coulter (Sam Tingstad kick)
Pullman — Tanner Richartz 2 run (Tingstad kick)
Clarkston — Allen 25 pass from Kaeden Frazier (Steve Baiye kick)
Clarkston — Allen 15 pass from Frazier (Baiye kick)
Clarkston — Baiye 27 field goal
Clarkston — Will Sliger 10 run (kick failed)
Byron Edelman may be contacted at (208) 848-2277 or email@example.com.