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J-D football runs past Nottingham, 20-6

Baker stars for Rams in sectional finals rematch

— Eleven months ago, Nottingham and Jamesville-DeWitt faced off in the Carrier Dome for the Section III Class A football championship. That night, the Bulldogs came out on top.

But in Thursday night’s rematch on Nottingham's home turf, the Red Rams got a bit of payback, prevailing by a score of 20-6.

“It feels great,” J-D tailback Rasheed Baker said. “Since the day we lost, we’ve been working for this day. This is a good win and a relief for us as a whole.”

Baker ended up running all over the Bulldogs to the tune of 239 yards on 35 carries, and two touchdowns. But the first scores of the night actually came from the passing game.

With both Nottingham (1-3) and J-D (3-1) dealing with loss of each of their respective starting quarterbacks, neither team thought the other would throw the ball much.

But with 1:21 left in the first quarter, Najaliek Williams lofted a pass into the outstretch hands of ShyQuon Mitchell for a 16-yard Nottingham touchdown, giving the Bulldogs a 6-0 lead.

Then, with the second-quarter clock winding down, J-D’s Nate Shapiro tossed his first TD pass to tailback James Jones from 24 yards out. With Anthony DiGiovanni's successful extra point, the Rams took a 7-6 lead into the break.

“In our last two games, we really didn’t complete a lot of passes,” Shapiro said, “so they really weren’t on coverage at all. We probably just had the step on them, so I just kind of lofted it over their heads.”

“That was big,” Baker said. “He’s not a big thrower, but he can throw. I have trust in my quarterback and he made a big play when we needed it.”

All through the second half, Baker and his Nottingham counterpart, Matt Jones, ran and ran, and then ran some more. Baker was especially impressive, as he took the vast majority of carries on offense.

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