Wildcats ready for revenge against Pioneers

Story by Kyle Davis

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This article was originally published prior to June 2, 2013.  Due to a change in content management systems, the initial publication date is not available.

Sunset is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday but Liston Stadium will be black by the 6 p.m. kickoff when rival MidAmerica Nazarene University comes to town.

Baker is celebrating the football home opener with an event to “blackout the stadium,” when fans are encouraged to wear black shirts to the game.

“I think (a win) would be huge for the university and for the people that have been here four years,” senior Rodney Harris said. “It’s going to be a playoff-like atmosphere.”

Last year’s game between Baker and MidAmerica Nazarene went into double overtime before the Pioneers were able to come away with a one-point victory, 42-41. A victory last year would have solidified a conference championship for the Wildcats.

“A battle like that, it was fun but it wasn’t as fun as it could have been because we didn’t win,” senior Clint Benge said. “It definitely leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.”

This will be the second straight week that the Wildcats face a team that is ranked in the NAIA Top 25 poll. Last week’s opponent, Missouri Valley College, is No. 16 and MidAmerica Nazarene is No. 8.

After a 34-14 loss to Missouri Valley, the team will look to rebound against the Pioneers, who will most likely battle to be at the top of the HAAC this season.

“A win would make everything fine. That’s the game of football. You get 10 shots and you’re measured by every shot,” head coach Mike Grossner said. “We’ve just got to play better. You cannot play poorly and expect to win against great teams.”

The Wildcats turned the ball over four times against Missouri Valley, which Baker hopes will not be repeated against the Pioneers, after leading the country in turnover margin a year ago.

“Turnovers are key in this game,” Harris said. “If we slip up they’re going to capitalize on our mistakes so we have definitely got to cause something early to get the momentum to swing our way.”

Even though it is only week two of a long season, the importance of this game is not lost on Grossner and his staff.

“It’s going to mean something eight weeks down the road,” Grossner said. “From our standpoint, and where we want to be at the end of the year, we have got to take care of business Saturday.”

The Pioneers won their first game of the season last week against Avila, 56-13.

"I think the word of the week is trust," Grossner said. "Trust what we're doing, trust your teammates and trust that your teammates are going to play hard and make plays for you."<br/>