BAKER — For the better part of three-plus quarters, Northeast was in pursuit of an insurance touchdown.
When two prime opportunities inside the 2-yard line went awry in the third quarter, the Vikings defense came to the rescue.
Senior defensive back Marvin Ramsey perfectly read a screen pass and picked off quarterback Treylan Anderson for a 3-yard interception return that helped propel visiting Northeast to a 12-0 victory Friday.
“It was a big play because it made us more comfortable in the game when we put those points on the board,” Ramsey said.
Northeast (2-0) scored on its opening possession and welcomed Ramsey’s defensive score with 4:58 left in the third to make up for the team’s red-zone miscues.
“We had two fumbles inside the 2-yard line, and that’s a credit to Baker to make us do that,” Northeast coach David Masterson said. “They just didn’t shut it down. I’m pretty perturbed when we’re twice inside their 2 and we cough the ball up.”
Baker (1-1) was left to lament its own problems once it got deep in Northeast territory.
The Buffaloes had a total of four drives that stalled inside the Vikings’ 30-yard line, two of which ended in interceptions — by Ramsey for the score and Darryl Adams at the goal line with 2:22 left in the third.
“We had our chances,” Baker coach Richard Oliver said. “We have to learn how to finish them. I don’t understand it. We get those big plays, and we can’t finish the drives. Our kids have to want it.”
Northeast’s first play of the third quarter was snapped from Baker’s 2 following a 65-yard kickoff return from Tyriq Kelly to open the half. Two plays later, defensive tackle Deon Addison recovered a fumble at the 2 when quarterback Marqueon Minor and KJ Robinson couldn’t connect on the handoff.
Robinson, who led the Vikings with 100 yards on 12 carries, was tackled and stripped at the end of a 34-yard run with the ball bounding into the end zone where Baker’s Kendrick Shavers recovered for a touchback at the 6:38 mark of the third.
Northeast rushed 41 times for 236 yards and outgained Baker 294-147, with the Vikings defense sacking Anderson five times for a loss of 29 yards.
Baker had the ball at its 20-yard line following Shavers’ touchback, but the Buffs were pushed all the way back to their 5 following Cornelius Jackson’s sack of Anderson and a delay-of-game penalty.
On the next play, Ramsey avoided a blocker on a bubble screen and caught Anderson’s attempted pass and fell forward into the end zone. The Vikings’ second rushing attempt at a two-point conversion failed.
Running back Preston Bell led Baker with 11 carries for 91 yards, caught four passes for 37 yards and had a punt return for 27 yards.
Northeast’s 6-0 halftime lead was courtesy of a game-opening drive that took seven plays to negotiate 57 yards in just under three minutes, which Robinson capped with a 1-yard run with 7:45 showing.
“The bad thing is we’ve done it in the scrimmage, jamboree and the first two games where we’re methodical down the field on our first drive,” Masterson said. “The bad part is we’ve moved it again but we’ve got to get better about not shooting ourselves in the foot.”