SUTHERLIN — Food and fishing took precedence over the final score at the end of the nonconference football game between Douglas and Sutherlin on Friday night.
It had less to do with the 28-0 final than it did the closeness of family.
Byron Baker and Will Singleton got the win on the football field, the first for SHS since 2007 in the series. Neither appeared to rib Kadin Baker about the outcome.
Kadin Baker, a cousin to both Byron Baker and Singleton, is a two-way starter for Douglas. Losing to the Bulldogs wasn’t in the pregame plans, but that was how the game played out.
He was, however, more than willing to pose with Byron Baker and Byron’s sister, Harlee Baker, for a photo afterward. Instead of banter, there was the question of what was next for the families.
Coping with the call of hunger was one priority. Planning another fishing trip may have been the second.
Byron and Kadin Baker spent a lot of time together over the summer. A lot of that time was spent with fishing poles as their companions.
“We did a lot of fishing together,” Kadin Baker said. But besides fishing, and hunting, there was also some trash talking about the face-off between the cousins.
“He’s really confident in their ability and I don’t think he really knows what we have yet,” Byron Baker said. “We’ve been competing this year, which is already different than the last season.”
Josh Gary returned as the Sutherlin High School head football coach and is running a Wing-T offense, something the Trojans of Douglas don’t face very often.
Regardless of the new coaching, Kadin Baker had the date circled on his calendar knowing it would be the one time he’d go up against Byron and Singleton, his other cousin.
“I’m definitely ready to play against them,” Kadin Baker said in an interview Wednesday. That same day Singleton and Byron Baker said they were excited about playing against family.
“He’s a good kid: big and strong,” Singleton said of Kadin Baker. “I’m studying up and I’ll make sure he doesn’t try to shoot through the gap. He’s taller than I am, so I’ll hit lower than he does.”
While Kadin Baker took on his cousins on the turf at Sutherlin High, he’s dealing with even tougher obstacles at home.
His mother, Mindi, was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer in her brain, lungs and femur in January. Kadin Baker has been her rock at home, while he continues to take a full load of classes and is a leader in the school.
“Kadin never complains nor asks for sympathy, he just chooses to handle a tough situation the right way,” a post on the Douglas High School Facebook page stated.
Singleton and Kadin Baker didn’t hang out much throughout the summer, but they’re both wrestlers and spend quite a bit of time together at various wrestling tournaments.
The cousins both competed at the OSAA state wrestling tournament at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland this past year, with Kadin Baker competing in the 182-pound weight class and Singleton coming in at 170.