Win over MNU breaks 13-year streak

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Win over MNU breaks 13-year streak

Story by Chad Mullens

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The phrase “We own Baker” rang through the minds of the 12th-ranked Baker University football team all week leading up to its homecoming game against MidAmerica Nazarene University.

T-shirts with the slogan were brought to the team’s attention after being posted on social media by MNU students.

“Those were posted all over our lockers,” freshman Clarence Clark said. “All we could think was ‘wow.’ It was kind of unbelievable. All it did was get us hyped up and get us focused, and we had a great week of practice.”

This added fuel to the already blazing fire the team had in its eyes toward a team the Wildcats had not defeated in this millennium.

“You know what it’s going to be every time, and they come in with an attitude that they think they’re better than us,” sophomore Sheldon Jacks said.

After 13 years of MNU football dominance, the Wildcats finally got over the hump, beating MidAmerica Nazarene 37-20 on Saturday at Liston Stadium.

The Wildcats led for the entire game, taking a 17-7 halftime lead. After MNU closed the gap to within four points in the third quarter, the Wildcats scored 14 unanswered points to put the game out of reach.

Clark, a wide receiver/kicker, had eight touches for 101 yards and two touchdowns, including a 25-yard fake field goal he ran into the end zone.

“We had practiced that play for last week’s game against Avila, and we just didn’t need it because we played so well,” Clark said. “So coach said, ‘All right, let’s do it,’ and we executed. I got the help of two big ole blocks by two big ole lineman, and got in the end zone.”

Jacks praised Clark’s all-around athleticism.

“He’s a great athlete. A tremendous receiver and a great kicker too,” Jacks said. “He’s a great asset to our team, and he did a great job today.”

The victory came at a price, though, as Baker lost both Andre Jolly, the All-American junior defensive end, and starting quarterback Jake Morse to injuries. Jacks said that these incidents brought the team closer together.

“I think we just had to rally together. We had to stick to what we do best, which was pounding the rock, and Nick (Marra) did a good job throwing the ball around a little bit,” Jacks said. “Jolly’s a great leader, and he has been eager all week. We had to get it for Jolly but for ourselves too, and that definitely motivated us.”

Jolly was taken out of the game after being horse-collar tackled following a fumble recovery. Morse left the game following a first half of 11 completions for 114 yards and a touchdown to Tyler Hatcher in the final seconds of the second quarter.

Head coach Mike Grossner said that Morse’s injury was to his throwing shoulder.

“It was probably just a sprain, but those are painful as a quarterback,” Grossner said. “He wanted to go back in, but we figured, ‘Why risk further damage to where he could be gone for the rest of the season?’”

Both the quarterback and defensive end positions were filled in well by their replacements. Marra threw for 57 yards and a touchdown, and freshman Nick Becker led the team with six tackles and a sack.

Running back Scott Meyer, in his first extended game action this season, ran the ball 11 times for 45 yards and a touchdown. However, senior Dillon Baxter carried the load, recording season highs in carries and yards, 27 for 138. Baxter scored the game’s first points in the first quarter, plunging in from 1 yard out.<br/>

“He is… an amazing back,” Clark said. “I think he can carry it more than (27 times). I honestly believe he can run it for as long as it takes.”

Baker will take on Culver-Stockton College at 2 p.m. Saturday in Canton, Mo. Baker will look to improve to 5-1, while Culver-Stockton will try for its first victory of the season.