Baker sloshes way to victory
Saturday night's game in Liston Stadium between the Baker University Wildcats and Culver-Stockton was a game even mothers couldn't love. It was too dirty, because of the mud and all. But it sure was beautiful for BU coach John Frangoulis as his Wildcats prevailed, slip sliding all the way, to a 19-14 victory.
"I think because of the condition of the field this is the kind of game that all that matters is field position and turnovers," said Frangoulis. "We got a big interception and our punter is one of our major weapons. With this field, it really limited what both teams could do.
"Getting the win, no matter how we got it, is what mattered," said Frangoulis.
That's a mouth full. And with good reason. More than a few players wound up with a mouth full of mud Saturday as an all-day, steady rain turned the field into a quagmire. There were turnovers aplenty, with seven fumbles and four interceptions. The place kicking game was pretty much non-existent as kickers tried to plant in the mud but failed.
Still, it was a thing of beauty, at least for the Wildcats, as one of those interceptions turned out to be the play of game. With Baker clinging to a 13-12 lead in the fourth quarter, BU cornerback Darrell Jones came up with the game clincher. Culver-Stockton was at midfield, or mid-mud as the case may be, with a third-and-16 situation.
Time to pass. Not a good option in the slop. Jones stepped in front of the pass, made the interception and returned it 20 yards to the Culver-Stockton 40-yard line.
"I was playing the quarterback on that one," said Jones. "My coach told me to keep dropping back because it let us see everything. I just saw the ball and did what I was supposed to do."
Yes, he caught the ball. Eight plays later, BU quarterback Martin Updike improvised on a play and found Todd Hitchcock in the end zone for a five-yard touchdown pass that put the game away.
"That was really a broken play," said Hitchcock. "I saw what was happening and just tried to make a play instead of being a robot out there and doing what the play called for."
Updike rebounded in the second half after throwing three first-half interceptions. His 43-yard touchdown pass to Scott Rieger in the third quarter gave BU its 13-12 lead after Michael Brennan somehow added the extra point kick.
Baker's first-half touchdown was scored by Gerrad Speer on a one-yard plunge that capped an eight-play, 65-yard drive. That kick failed, leaving the score knotted at 6-6. Culver-Stockton added a second-quarter touchdown to lead 12-6 at halftime.
At that time, it didn't look good for Baker. But, the Wildcats rallied for the 13 points in the second half to even their record at 2-2. It was a big win, Frangoulis said.
"They all are," he said. "Every win is big. They are a good team. It was the best game we've played this season. We don't have a practice field, so anytime it rains we're in mud. We're used to those conditions. Sometimes the best team doesn't win in those conditions."
But, it just points to the experience Baker has.
"We've won a lot of games over the years," said Frangoulis. "We know how to win."
Next up for the Wildcats is a Saturday game at Lindenwood in St. Charles, Mo. Lindenwood features a fast group of specialty players, among others.
"They've got great skill kids," he said. "They're very talented. They can beat you on punt returns and kick off returns. That's not an easy place to play, either. We're going to have our hands full."
Game time is 1:30 p.m.