No. 2 Wildcats hold on to defeat No. 23 William Penn 31-27

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No. 2 Wildcats hold on to defeat No. 23 William Penn 31-27

Senior Hayden Jenkins leads the Wildcats onto the field on Aug. 26.

Senior Hayden Jenkins leads the Wildcats onto the field on Aug. 26.

Marilee Neutel

Senior Hayden Jenkins leads the Wildcats onto the field on Aug. 26.

Marilee Neutel

Marilee Neutel

Senior Hayden Jenkins leads the Wildcats onto the field on Aug. 26.

Story by Nathalia Barr, Managing Editor

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The No. 2 Baker Wildcats came from behind in an explosive fourth quarter to win 31-27 in the season-opener over No. 23 William Penn on Saturday.

The Wildcats took an early lead with a 4-yard touchdown pass from senior Logan Brettell to freshman Nate Pauly. The Statesmen tied the game to end the first quarter, but both teams struggled to find the end zone again until late in the game.

After a back-and-forth final quarter, Brettell connected with senior Cornell Brown for a 61-yard touchdown with 1:33 remaining in the game to lock in the win for the Wildcats. Brettell was 18-35, throwing for 264 yards and three touchdowns with one interception, to start his senior season.

Senior Cornell Brown evades a William Penn defender at Liston Stadium. Brown scored two touchdowns in the 31-27 win. Photo by Jenna Black. Click here for full gallery.

Senior Clarence Clark began the season with a history-making, 29-yard field goal in the second quarter. This put him at 526 total points scored in his career, giving him the NAIA all-time scoring record.

The Baker offense totaled 387 yards, while William Penn was held to just 181 yards. In his debut, freshman JD Woods led the Wildcats with 91 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Kegan Schumann and Grant Elston led the Wildcat’s defense with 10 tackles each. Schumann’s performance earned him the Heart of America Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week.

The win gave Mike Grossner his 99th win as Baker’s head coach. Grossner is second in all-time wins at BU, behind College Football Hall of Famer Charlie Richard, who has 123 wins.

The No. 2 Wildcats will now play No. 9 Grand View at 11 a.m. on Sept. 2 in Des Moines, Iowa. The game will be one of three games this season to be broadcast on ESPN 3, Watch ESPN App and on KSMO-TV locally.