No. 4 Wildcats roll Ravens, improve to 5-0


Elizabeth Hanson

Cornell Brown puts on the brakes to avoid two Benedictine defenders in Baker’s 60-7 win over the Ravens. Brown compiled 196 yards from scrimmage. Image by Elizabeth Hanson.

Story by Jim Joyner, Sports Editor

The No. 4 Baker Wildcats avenged their only regular season loss of the 2015 season with a 60-7 win over the No. 12 Benedictine College Ravens on Saturday at Liston Stadium. The Wildcats outscored the Ravens 51-0 after the first quarter and kept their perfect 5-0 record intact.

“That was a good football team that (Jason Thoren) and his defense put together the perfect game plan for,” head coach Mike Grossner said. “We shut down the run, and that was the key to the game.”

For a second consecutive week, junior running back Cornell Brown was extremely productive. Brown rushed 25 times for 83 yards and two touchdowns and also caught 11 passes for 113 yards. Brown was last week’s Heart of America Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week and has five rushing touchdowns in two weeks.

Junior quarterback Logan Brettell had his second best game, in terms of passing yards. Brettell completed 72 percent of his passes for 393 yards and three touchdowns.

“Logan was our emotional leader, and you need that from the players,” Grossner said.

Brettell didn’t need any extra motivation for Saturday’s game against Benedictine.

“Last night he spoke to the team from his heart on how he got recruited and how it came down to Baker and Benedictine,” Grossner said. “He had a lot of fire in him today and you could see it in his play.”

The Wildcats marched their opening drive 72 yards down the field and converted four third-down conversions. They took a 7-0 lead early in the third quarter and followed that up with a safety. On a punt, Benedictine’s long snapper launched the football 5 feet over the head of the Raven punter, out of the back of the end zone. It was 9-0 Baker early.

The Ravens responded in the final two minutes of the first quarter and tallied, what would eventually be, their only score of the afternoon to make it 9-7.

Brettell made his only mistake with an interception in the first half, but responded well to keep Baker in the game. Then the Wildcats put up 17-straight points to take a 26-7 halftime lead.

“Early on, the turnover margin was crucial and that allowed for them to stay in the game,” Grossner said. “Once we got into the second half, we got that under control.”

Brettell started the scoring in the second half with a 16-yard touchdown run to the front right pylon. Brettell dove and hit the pylon with the football, proving his ability to win with his feet and his arm.

Then the onslaught began at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Baker scored four touchdowns in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter and blew the game open.

Brettell found sophomore receiver Jaylen Rose for a 20-yard score, then senior Avery Parker followed that score with an interception returned 85 yards for a touchdown. Cornell Brown scored his second rushing touchdown of the game from near the goal line and then sophomore linebacker Keegan Schumann took an interception 27 yards back for a touchdown.

Baker led 60-7 and the Wildcats were closing in on their most impressive win of the season. After giving up fourth quarter leads against Benedictine in 2013 and 2015, the Wildcats knew they needed to play a complete game.

“We played 60 minutes of football, and that worked out pretty good today,” Grossner said.

The Baker defense held Benedictine to 16 yards rushing and only 271 total yards. The Wildcats also forced five Benedictine turnovers.

Senior receiver Quanzee Johnson led the Wildcats in receiving with 171 yards on 13 catches. Brettell was second in rushing for the Wildcats with 63 yards on 17 rushes.

The Wildcats take on the Peru State Bobcats next Saturday in Peru, Nebraska, in their final game against the Heart’s North Division. The Wildcats beat Peru State 35-10 in Baldwin City last October.

“We’ve got a lot of season left,” Grossner said. “We have one heck of a challenge next week against Peru, an option team, on their homecoming.”