Destin Sharks fall in first-ever regular season football game to Baker Gators

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

In their first-ever regular season football game, the Destin High Sharks traveled to Baker to take on the Gators who have earned many state championships over the years and have the banners to prove it posted around the stadium. 

Although the Sharks competed, they lost 34-0. 

“The effort was there,” said Destin Coach E.G. Green. 

“We came to Baker on the road, our first game and gave everything we had. I think it is a good learning lesson,” Green added. 

Destin High quarterback Jordan Figueroa drops back to pass in the first half against Baker.

Baker dominated from the start, taking the opening drive 80 yards capped off by a 1-yard run by Kayleb Wagner. Wagner had two more touchdowns before the night was done, a 32-yard run and a 67-yarder. 

“The Wagner kid is good. He played a good game. He’s a difficult kid to tackle,” Green said. 

Destin sputtered on offense, with high snaps from center and dropped passes. 

“We just couldn’t get it going,” Green said. 

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On Baker’s second possession the Shark defense managed to stop the Gators and forced a punt. 

But the Shark offense again failed to get rolling. 

At the start of the second quarter, Baker scored on a 32-yard run up the middle by Wagner. Judah Morse kicked in the point after for a 14-0 lead. 

Destin High Shark Price Bowen tries to pull in a catch against the Baker Gators in the fourth quarter.

Destin failed to make a first down on their possession, giving the ball back to the Gators. 

Baker scored in three plays. Wagner found a hole in the middle and then cut back left and scampered to the endzone for a 67-yard TD. Morse’s kick was good and Baker was on top 21-0. 

On Destin’s next possession, the Sharks picked up a first down. Destin quarterback Jordan Figueroa hit William Bruckner on a route for a gain of 7 yards. Then Figueroa called his own number and ran around the right end for a gain of 9 yards and a first down. The Sharks picked up 4 more yards before they were stopped. 

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Baker had the ball for two plays before the Destin defense knocked the ball loose with Noah Papili coming up with the ball for the Sharks.  

Destin tried to move the ball but came up short and then lined up for a field goal attempt that never got off the ground. 

Destin High Coach E.G. Green walks the sidelines during the game Friday night in Baker.

Baker led 21-0 at the half. 

In the third, Baker put together a 62-yard drive capped off by a 7-yard run by Colton Weekley for the score. The extra point kick went wide left. Baker led 27-0. 

The Gators went for an onside kick and recovered the ball at the 42-yard line. Three plays later, the Destin defense again knocked the ball loose and Ethan Ramsey made the recovery for the Sharks. 

The Destin offense finally got rolling with Figueroa hitting Sonny Taylor for a gain of 23 yards. Figueroa put the ball up again with Price Bowen making the catch for a positive 9 yards. Baker was hit with a penalty and the Sharks had the ball on the 17-yard line. Avery Zierden rushed for a gain of 5 yards. However, on the next play the Sharks lost ground on a bad snap. On a fourth-and-long situation, Figueroa put the ball up to Bowen in the endzone, but the ball was swatted away. 

Baker scored one last time in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run from Ethan Williams. Morse kicked in the point after for a 34-0 finish. 

“I think the defense did well … they did enough to give the offense a chance,” Green said. 

“We had the chances, we just couldn’t get it going,” he said. 

Up next for the Sharks is a 7 p.m. game, Thursday, Sept. 8, against North Bay Haven of Panama City. The game will be played at the Destin Middle School football field.