Baker falls hard to MNU
OLATHE The No. 8 ranked Mid America Nazarene Pioneers (8-0, 8-0) proved to be too much for Baker (4-4, 4-3) as they handled the Wildcats by a 45-7 score here Saturday. Behind the No. 1 defense in the nation, the Pioneers held the Cats to 45 yards total offense and scored 24 first-quarter points to cruise to the Heart of America Athletic Conference victory.
Baker's one offensive highlight was a two-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback John Chisholm to senior receiver Todd Hitchcock in the third quarter. Chisholm made his first start of the year, replacing sophomore Martin Updike, and completed one of 14 passes for 22 yards and an interception.
"We had to shake some things up in our starting lineups. We did that on both sides of the ball this game," Baker head coach John Frangoulis said. "We knew we couldn't come in and match them man for man without some changes, not the way we have been performing lately. We made some personnel adjustments and I was proud of how hard our young kids played. They always play hard and I like to see that."
Pioneer tailback James Jones was the offensive star of the game, rushing for 175 yards on 12 carries. He also scored two touchdowns and helped MNU gain 377 yards total offense.
The leading rusher for Baker was senior tailback Howard Verdell who had 34 yards on four carries. Baker lost four fumbles on the day.
"They have an excellent defense," Frangoulis said. "And their offense is pretty good, too, and they have good special teams with their All-American returner. They are an excellent ball club. They won a playoff game last year and have most of those defensive players returning from that team."
Defensively, junior tackle Mark Miller had eight tackles for the Wildcats. Senior Mickey Ramsey, Baker's tackles school-record holder, added eight tackles as well. Junior cornerback Matt Tripplett and senior defensive end William Harris each had an interception.
The Wildcats will return home for the first time in a month when they host the Missouri Valley Vikings Saturday, kicking off at 1:30 p.m. in Liston Stadium.