BAKER — The formula is tried and true.

Junior McLaughlin breaks out. Baker’s defense holds strong. The Gators roll to another running clock.

Rinse, repeat. Even in the playoffs.

Following up Baker’s third straight perfect regular season, the Gators got 277 rushing yards and four scores from McLaughlin and ushered in the postseason with a 49-21 Region 1-1A quarterfinal win over Freeport at Doug Griffith Memorial Stadium.

“Good job, men,” Baker coach Matt Brunson said in the postgame huddle. “One round down.”

Two to go for a fourth straight Final Four.

And three to go until Baker reaches its season-long goal: a chance to play for a state title.

“We just want to give ourselves a chance,” Brunson said. “Tonight was a step in the right direction.”

Now the Gators are set to host Northview in the Region 1-1A semifinals on Friday. The two met earlier this year with the Gators winning comfortably, 35-7.

“The goal is to just take it play by play and do what we did tonight,” said McLaughlin, who’s having a career year.

The reigning Daily News Player of the Year entered the night averaging 251 all-purpose yards per game with 25 touchdowns. No foe has held him to less than 130 rushing yards or out of the end zone, the senior averaging 11.5 yards per carry.

Simply put, Freeport had no chance. McLaughlin opened the game with totes of 23 and 39 yards to set up a 1-yard touchdown run. He tacked on a 9-yard touchdown scurry on the next drive and later scores from 79 and 32 yards out.

McLaughlin was the poster child for a ground game that produced all seven scores and 422 rushing yards.

Derek Peoples added a 59-yard touchdown run, John Mateleska tacked on a 16-yard score and quarterback Payton Rockwell broke off a 17-yard touchdown run. Rockwell attempted only two passes, each successful two-point conversions.

As for that vaunted Baker D, it held Justin Clark to a 0-for-3 completion rate. Meanwhile Brandon Siples, who entered the game averaging 206 all-purpose yards with 18 touchdowns, mustered just 96 rushing yards and a junk-time touchdown.

But the result should have shocked few, especially when you considered the team’s common opponents.

Top-seeded Baker beat Graceville 47-0. Eighth-seeded Freeport lost to Graceville 44-19.

Baker beat Holmes County 42-0. Freeport lost to Holmes County 26-18.

Baker beat South Walton 40-19. Freeport lost to South Walton 20-18.

Baker beat Northview 35-7. Freeport lost to Northview 49-14.

Baker beat Jay 35-0. Freeport lost to Jay 30-26.

Even still, Freeport entered the night preaching the same motto: TREAD.

Trust, Respect, Effort, Attitude and Devotion.

Baker entered the night with more than a motto, but a mindset: state title game or bust.

Three straight Final Fours will do that. As will a No. 1 region seed and a 29-game regular-season win streak.

This year alone the Gators haven’t been played to within a possession and have outscored foes 346-74. The 21 points allowed was the most to any foe, but 14 came in junk time after the running clock started as Kadyen Inns scooped up a 65-yard fumble recovery for a score and Siples added a 19-yard touchdown run.

But the Bulldogs trailed just 14-7 after the first quarter. Following McLaughlin’s back-to-back touchdown runs, Clark scored on a 1-yard keeper. But the Bulldogs just couldn’t limit the big plays, Peoples busting a 59-yard touchdown run and McLaughlin adding a 79-yard touchdown run to give the Gators a 28-7 lead headed into the locker rooms.

“Freeport’s got a good little football team and in the first half it was touch and go,” Brunson said. “The field was a bit muddy and the guys fought hard and we’re advancing.

“That’s the most important part.”