DeWitt Rasheed Baker writhed in pain. Lying on the far 15-yard line midway through the third quarter of Friday night's game against Cazenovia, the Jamesville-Dewitt running back rolled back and forth reaching for his left leg as trainers rushed toward him.
Baker had suffered a severe cramp in his left hamstring backpedaling on the previous play. A few minutes later, trainers helped to the sideline, placed him on the ground and began stretching him out
Forced to watch as Cazenovia halved the 12-point J-D lead he had helped build, Baker gingerly trotted up and down the sideline through the third quarter. When he was loose enough to back in, J-D head coach Eric Ormond called his number right away.
Said Baker: “I’m all team. Anything I can do for the team, I’ll do.”
Taking a crucial third-down-and-six carry from the Cazenovia 24-yard line, Baker dashed up the middle and sprung out left for an 18-yard gain. The run gave J-D a first-and goal, and set up Kaalar Wynn’s eventual game-winning field goal five seconds into the fourth quarter.
Baker paced the Red Rams in their 22-20 victory over Cazenovia with 111 yards on 17 carries. He did not find the end zone, but excelled in his workhorse role, extending drives and wearing down the heavy Lakers defensive front. Playmakers Taumeras Howard and Josiah Williams took advantage of those added opportunities.
J-D charged down the field to start the game. Six yards for Howard to start. Seven for Baker to extend the drive. Six more for Williams on a sweep right later in the drive.
Eventually, quarterback Ryan Wright held onto the ball, and rolling out to his right, hit Williams for a 33-yard gain, down to the Cazenovia one-yard line. Wright took the next snap himself and scored as J-D took an early 7-0 lead.