Quarterback Conley Martin works to elude a Badger defender in the state championship game on Saturday, Nov. 27. (Special to the Enterprise/ANGIE SILLONIS)

BAKER CITY – Antelopes don’t often chase badgers but that was the case Saturday in the state 1A championship game between Adrian and Powder Valley.

For much of the game, the Lopes trailed Powder Valley – an unfamiliar situation for an undefeated Adrian team that has rarely allowed more than one touchdown.

But key plays late in the game put Adrian back in familiar territory – the winning side of a ballgame.

The Lopes defeated the Badgers 46-38 to win the state title, repeating from its championship in 2019. They finish the season 13-0.

The championship trophy didn’t come easy.

“Powder Valley had a great game plan,” said Coach Bill Wortman. “We got off our rhythm offensively.”

He said the Badgers defended well against Adrian’s preference to route tight ends over the middle.

“They made us a one-dimensional team,” Wortman said, and the Lopes faced a “roller coaster of a game.”

Quarterback Conley Martin, a senior playing his final high school game, agreed.

“We were playing catch up, which we hadn’t done all year,” Martin said. “We played Adrian football that entire game. We did not break out any trick plays. We didn’t try to do anything special.”

Martin powered the Lopes on the ground, carrying the ball 29 times for 211 yards. He also connected on two passes for 57 yards.

Adrian seemed to set the tone from its first play of the game, played at Baker High School. Martin scored on a 56-yard run, a quarterback power play he said “we’ve been running all year. It’s been working.”

But the extra point effort failed.

On the kickoff, the Badgers struck back, as Powder Valley’s Cole Martin returned the ball 94 yards for a score. That appears to be a 1A championship game record for the longest return of a kickoff. The Lopes in 2019 allowed what – until Saturday – was the record kickoff return when St. Paul went 85 yards.

The Badgers did make their extra point, taking an 8-6 lead.

“That messed up our momentum,” Conley Martin said. The Lopes would be behind until late in the game.

Near the end of the first quarter, Martin put the Lopes in scoring position with a 29-yard run to the Badger 5-yard line. A 2-yard gain and then a 5-yard loss put Adrian at fourth down and eight yards to go for a score when a pass went incomplete.

The Badgers took over and capped their series with a 65-yard scoring run by Case Olson.

At halftime and with Adrian trailing 16-14, Wortman reminded the players of his comments earlier in the week to anticipate adversity in the title game.

“I told them, ‘It’s going to be how you respond.’ They took the advice to heart. They overcame the adversity,” Wortman said.

The teams traded touchdowns but the Lopes could never quite catch the Badgers – until the fourth quarter.

Trailing 38-30, the Lopes started a drive at their own 41 with a little over nine minutes left in the game. The drive stalled at the Powder Valley 37, when the Lopes couldn’t connect on a pass when it was fourth and 12. A pass interference call against the Badgers kept the drive alive, giving the Lopes a first down on the Badger 22 but a holding penalty against Adrian turned first-and-10 into first-and-24.

On the next play, Gavin Bayes made a leaping sideline catch, covering 34 yards and putting the Lopes on the 2-yard line.

Martin said the play didn’t call for a pass to Bayes but “I looked downfield and he was standing wide open.”

“That was a huge catch,” Wortman said. “He was barely in bound.”

Jace Martin ran it in, the extra score was good, and with 4:57 left in the title game, the Lopes pulled even at 38-38.

The Lopes continued to make their own fortune in the waning minutes.

Jace Martin pounded the ensuing kickoff into the end zone, leaving the Badgers to start their next drive on the Adrian 20.

The Badgers lost five yards on the next play, gained 16 on the next, and then were stumped. The next run was for no gain, the next was an 11-yard loss and then came perhaps the most important defensive play of the game for the Lopes.

Lope defenders swarmed Badger quarterback Reece Dixon, sacking him and forcing a fumble recovered by Misael Munoz on the Power Valley 6-yard line.

“That was a huge play,” Wortman said. “When we recovered that, I thought, ‘We’re in the driver’s seat now.’”

The Lopes needed just five seconds to score, with Conley Martin running it in and then scoring the extra point, putting Adrian on top for good at 46-38.

Wortman highlighted the play of the Adrian line on both offense and defense – “it starts and ends up front.”

He cited Jace Bateman’s role as “fantastic” at running back, playing for the injured Riley Griffin.

Wortman said his defense core of Munoz, Sam Kiely and Chase Andrade have been pressuring quarterbacks all year and they did so again on Saturday.

Jace Martin led defenders with seven solo tackles and seven assists. Conley Martin had six tackles and five assists and Munoz had seven tackles and three assists.

On offense, Adrian racked up 363 yards to 252 for the Badgers.

Penalties played a role throughout the game. The Badgers had six penalties for 50 yards while the Lopes had 10 penalties for 85 yards.

To celebrate, the team will join the volleyball and cross country teams for a banquet yet to be scheduled.

“We’ll hang a banner,” Wortman said, noting Adrian on Saturday won its 11th state title in 1A sports.

“That’s the seventh state title in seven calendar years. That’s pretty good,” Wortman said.

For Conley Martin, the game caps years of playing football with friends dating back to fourth grade.

“Being my last game, this my last chance to really do what I love and have fun with my friends. I just went out and played,” he said.

He said the second state title is just as special as the 2019 championship.

“There’s not a feeling like it,” he said.

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ANGIE SILLONIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ANGIE SILLONIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ANGIE SILLONIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ANGIE SILLONIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ANGIE SILLONIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ANGIE SILLONIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ANGIE SILLONIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ANGIE SILLONIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ANGIE SILLONIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ANGIE SILLONIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ANGIE SILLONIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ANGIE SILLONIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ANGIE SILLONIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ANGIE SILLONIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ANGIE SILLONIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ERIC ELLIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ERIC ELLIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ERIC ELLIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ERIC ELLIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ERIC ELLIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ERIC ELLIS)

Adrian came from behind late in the game to take the lead and the state 1A football time on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Baker High School. (Special to the Enterprise/ERIC ELLIS)

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Adrian players listen in on a sideline huddle during the state championship game on Saturday, Nov. 27. (The Enterprise/LES ZAITZ)

Toby Clow listens in on a sideline huddle during the state championship game on Saturday, Nov. 27. (The Enterprise/LES ZAITZ)

Player Riley Griffin, George Ellsworth and Reagan Shira, conditioning coach, track the action during the state championship game on Saturday, Nov. 27. (The Enterprise/LES ZAITZ)

ADRIAN ANTELOPE 2021 TEAM ROSTER

No. 3  Carter Bayes, junior

No. 4  Edgar Amaral, sophomore

No. 5  Robert Garza, junior

No. 6  Octavio Bautista, sophomore

No. 8  Misael Munoz, senior

No. 10 Gavin Bayes, senior

No. 11 Chase Andrade, junior

No. 12 Jace Bateman, sophomore

No. 13 Jace Martin, junior

No. 14 Conley Martin, senior

No. 15 Riley Griffin, senior

No. 16 Sam Kiely, senior

No. 27 Preston Hutchings, sophomore

No. 39 Adan Bautista, senior

No. 40 Trevor Bartalotto, senior

No. 51 Brock Bertalotto, junior

No. 54 Toby Clow, senior

Coach: Bill Wortman

Assistant coaches: Bryce Kershner, Ray Uriarte

RELATED COVERAGE:

ADRIAN TITLE: Fans show up in big numbers to cheer on Lopes

ADRIAN TITLE: Lopes collect state trophy, celebrate on field with fans

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