The Baker Orange

No. 3 Wildcats win on senior day

Story by Chad Mullens, Writer

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When junior quarterback Nick Marra went down in the first quarter with an injury, the last thing sophomore Logan Brettell expected was to complete 22 of his first 23 passes.

“It all happened so quick, that I didn’t really have time to think about things or get nervous at all,” Brettell said. “So I just started slinging the ball, and I was prepared like a second-string quarterback should be prepared.”

His preparation set him up for a career-high 398 passing yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in a 40-21 win over the Central Methodist University Eagles. He was just 35 yards away from the school record set by Mack Brown in 2008.

“I had no idea,” Brettell said when he was asked if he knew how close he was to the record. “The only stat I paid attention to was the two interceptions, and I know that’s something I need to work on.”

Both of those interceptions came in the second half, and head Coach Mike Grossner thinks that those can come as a learning experience.

“In the second half he made a couple of mistakes, and that’s not all bad,” Grossner said. “Now the learning curve is there, and he can adapt and adjust.”

Brettell’s 22-of-23 spurt gave the Wildcats a 21-7 halftime lead, as well as freshman Indie Allen blocking a punt and returning it for a touchdown.

“Indie is a special teams ace,” Grossner said. “He plays really hard and really fast.”

The Wildcats had two 100-yard receivers in sophomores Cornell Brown and Clarence Clark, and two receivers with 10+ catches in Clark and junior Quanzee Johnson.

“I kept saying all day that my job is so easy when you’ve got five guys who are the best athletes on the field,” Brettell said of his wide receivers. “I can’t take that much credit for how much we scored, because I know that when I get it to those guys, they can do a lot of things with the ball.”

The brightest star in the receiving corps was Brown, who had a career day with 9 catches for 164 yards and two touchdowns.

“He’s a playmaker,” Grossner said of Brown. “I thought he played one of his best games as a Wildcat.”

Even with 528 yards of offense and 40 points, the Wildcats had a sloppy game with five turnovers, as well as eight penalties for 111 yards. That included an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from Grossner.

“I got my first penalty of my career as a coach, but I thought we got a lot of energy out of it,” Grossner said. “Still, I won’t be doing that again.”

It was a tale of two halves defensively for Baker, as the Eagles were held to just 101 yards of offense in the first half, but racked up 280 in the second half.

“One thing that was disappointing was that we didn’t play the ball when it was in the air that well,” Grossner said. “We’re usually ball hawks, but in this game I wasn’t happy with the way their guys were coming up with the ball and making big plays.”

The second-half passing game for CMU kept the Eagles afloat, as quarterback Caleb Bedford had six pass plays of 20 yards or more and averaged 16.8 yards per completion in the game. Still, the Eagles were never able to pull the game closer than 16 points in the second half. They brought the game to within two scores early in the fourth quarter, with Bedford’s 12-yard touchdown to Jamall Williams putting the Baker lead at 37-21. On the ensuing drive, Clark responded with a 42-yard field goal.

The Wildcats reached their eighth victory of the season on senior day, which held great importance to the returning Wildcats after last year’s senior day loss at the hands of Missouri Valley College.

“Last year, we let the seniors out with a loss, and we remembered how bad that felt, so we wanted to go out there and win it for our seniors,” Brettell said.

The Wildcats will have an opportunity to exact revenge on the Vikings of Missouri Valley, as the two teams clash on Saturday. Even though the Vikings are two games behind Baker in the overall conference standings at 6-3, Grossner is impressed with the team out of Marshall, Missouri.

“They’ve shown in spurts that they can be the best team in the league,” Grossner said of the Vikings.

BU will travel to Marshall for the game that takes place at 1:30 p.m. for Missouri Valley’s senior day. The Wildcats will look to protect their 8-1 record and No. 3 ranking in the NAIA.

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