Baker football falls to Missouri Valley

Story by Nathalia Barr, Managing Editor

The Missouri Valley Vikings handed Baker its first loss of the season, breaking its Heart of America Athletic Conference winning streak as well. Before the 27-22 loss, the Wildcats were unbeaten in the last 26 Heart games since Sept. 26, 2015, at Benedictine.

This puts the ‘Cats at 9-1 overall and 3-1 in Heart South play. After sitting at the No. 2 spot since the beginning of August, Baker fell five spots and is now ranked No. 7 in the NAIA.

Offensive line protection against Missouri Valley proved to be a struggle for Baker as freshman quarterback Marco Aguinaga was sacked six times by the Vikings. Baker’s offense was still able to remain productive as Aguinaga completed 30 passes from 54 attempts for 347 yards. The 54 attempts set a new Baker record for the most in one game.

Freshman Nick Snider broke another Baker record for most receptions in a game with 18. The previous record of 14 was held by Jimmie Rose in 1993. Snider is second in the NAIA for receptions per game, averaging about eight.

Freshman JD Woods had another active game on offense with 40 rushing attempts for 214 yards and a touchdown. Woods still ranks first in the NAIA in total scoring with 23 touchdowns and second in the NAIA in total rushing with 1,481 yards this season.

Baker remains second in the NAIA in total scoring offense. The ‘Cats have outscored their opponents by 271 total points this season.

With the sole loss and only one regular-season game remaining, the Wildcats are still in the running for the Heart South Division title. Baker will travel to Springfield, Missouri, to take on No. 25 Evangel at noon on Saturday.

In a preseason poll, Baker was picked to take the Heart South Division title while Evangel was in fourth place in the poll. Currently, Evangel holds the top spot in the Heart South Division at 4-0 and 7-3 overall.

Baker looks to snap Evangel’s five-game winning streak to earn the conference title for the third year in a row and fourth time in five years.