No. 5 Wildcats make a statement with opening win


Shelby Stephens

Quarterback Logan Brettell interacts with the student section after widening the Wildcat lead with another touchdown. Brettell led the Wildcats with three rushing and two passing touchdowns.

Story by Jim Joyner, Sports Editor

For the second straight season, the No. 5 Baker Wildcats opened up their season with a win over the No. 6 Grand View Vikings on Saturday afternoon at Liston Stadium. Unlike last season, Baker dominated Grand View from start to finish and picked up a 36-13 win.

“I think we wore them out,” head coach Mike Grossner said. “At the end of plays they’d fall to the ground and wouldn’t get up quick enough.”

Junior Logan Brettell started his third season with the Wildcats and was as close to perfect as you can play. Brettell completed 33 of his 44 passes for 371 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for three touchdowns and 45 yards.

“He ran when he could and he got down when he was supposed to,” Grossner said. “He’s a very good, heady football player, and he’s a leader.”

Brettell proved to his team and the rest of the league that he is an experienced quarterback with Saturday’s performance.

“He doesn’t scream and yell, but he likes to talk when he needs to talk, and I like that about a quarterback,” Grossner said.

Brettell led the Wildcats 65 yards down the field on the game’s first drive and finished with an 8-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw. On Baker’s third drive, after an interception by senior Nick Becker, Brettell added his second rushing touchdown, this time from 10 yards out, and Baker took a 13-0 lead.

Junior Clarence Clark kicked a 46-yard field goal with 4:37 to play in the first quarter and Baker followed that with the season’s first touchdown through the air, an 80-yard catch and run by senior Damon Nolan. It was 23-0 and Baker’s offense looked as explosive as it was predicted to be.

Grand View’s first score came at the end of the first quarter on a 10-play, 68-yard drive. But Baker responded before the halftime break when Brettell threw his second touchdown of the game to senior Ladai Boose to give the Wildcats a 29-7 halftime lead.

“The number one goal was to stay on the gas and stay together and make sure everybody stays positive,” senior safety Darrain Winston said.

The Wildcats only scored one touchdown in the second half, a 22-yard scamper by Logan Brettell, and that was all they would need to seal the win.

The Wildcats held the Vikings off the board in the third quarter and allowed only one touchdown in the fourth quarter with the second string in.

“We can even go faster,” Grossner said. “When you go at that type of tempo and you execute, you’re going to wear somebody down.”

The Baker defense proved to be tough again and forced Grand View quarterback Jordan Knock to be wild on the majority of his passes. Baker allowed only 89 yards on the ground to the Viking offense and dominated the trenches.

The veterans on the Baker defense were the leaders in the team’s first game. Winston added another interception to his career total (8) at Baker with his first of the season. Seniors Kharon Brown, Nick Becker, Nick Shondell and Josh Kock and junior Hayden Jenkins used their experience to slow down the Grand View offense. Brown led the way for Baker with nine tackles, Jenkins added six and Kock tallied four.

“Kock does what he does,” Winston said. “He’s one of the best D-lineman in the conference.”

The offense put together 460 total yards, and the passing game was dominant. Nolan caught six passes for 161 yards, junior Cornell Brown caught 10 passes for 96 yards, and seniors Ladai Shawn Boose, Quanzee Johnson and junior Clarence Clark combined for 17 catches and 114 yards.

The Wildcats did struggle with penalties in their first game of the season. Baker committed 12 penalties for 116 yards, and Grand View’s first touchdown was almost entirely a result of penalties.

“A lot of our penalties were aggression and I don’t mind that in a big game,” Grossner said. “We’ll work on that and get better.”

Winston knows that this was a huge game for Baker in the Heart schedule, especially because Grand View was the North Division champion in 2015.

“We know we have the tough division,” Winston said. “Our goal is to win all of our home games and, if we can, go undefeated. When the playoffs come, it’s another level.”

Winston and the Wildcats know that they can not look past any opponents this season, including next Saturday’s matchup against the Culver-Stockton College Wildcats, who did not win a single game in 2015.

“They’re a good team and we’re not going to look over them,” Winston said. “We’re going to play them like they’re Southern Oregon, Marian or any other good team.”

Baker hosts Culver-Stockton at 1 p.m. on Sept. 3 at Liston Stadium. Baker beat CSC 58-0 in Canton, Missouri, in the second game of 2015.

Saturday’s win confirmed Grossner and his team’s belief that the Wildcats have a very good football team.

“It’s early and we have a long way to go, but I like where we’re at,” Grossner said.