Archive for Wednesday, September 26, 2001

Baker finds a way to win

September 26, 2001

It's getting to be a habit, but it's a good habit. Baker University's Wildcats found a way to win again Saturday afternoon in St. Charles, Mo., this time with a 14-7 win over Lindenwood University.

This time it was a pair of blocked punts that spelled victory for Baker. The Wildcats took the early lead in the first quarter when Thom Jefferson jumped on a blocked punt in the end zone for Baker's first touchdown.

That stood up until Lindenwood scored a touchdown midway through the second quarter after a 10-play, 66-yard drive. That put the score at 7-7 at halftime and made for the exciting special teams finish for Baker in the end.

In the fourth quarter, Baker blocked another Lindenwood punt. This time the ball ended up on the one-yard line instead of the end zone. One play later, Gerrad Speer scored Baker's go-ahead touchdown on a one-yard plunge and it held up.

"The kids have found a way to win these last three weeks, particularly the last two weeks," said Baker coach John Frangoulis, whose Wildcats now stand 3-2. "It was kind of a defensive game on both sides. Obviously our special teams were better than theirs. It made for an exciting game and it's a win. That's all that counts."

That's for sure. There wasn't much offense to speak of Baker had 157 yards and Lindenwood had 222. But, still, Baker had to keep in mind the dangerous return men that Lindenwood had to offer. Frangoulis feared kickoff and punt returns that could have meant the difference.

"We punted away from them and kicked to a certain person," he said. "We didn't give them any opportunities."

It paid off, too, as Baker used its special teams and defense to seal the victory. The defense caused three fumbles and also picked off an interception.

"The defense is getting better," he said. "They caused some big turnovers in the second half which helped us."

It was another story on offense, where the Wildcats have struggled all season. It was no different Saturday and became worse with injuries.

"Offensively, we're still looking for answers," said Frangoulis. "We've got our top three tailbacks dinged up with injuries. We did some things to try and improve. It's hard to generate offense when your backs are hurt."

Baker is eyeing a week off to help mend those injuries, but that won't happen quite yet. Saturday is homecoming at Liston Stadium and Graceland College will invade Baldwin for the 2 p.m. game. Graceland has given Baker fits over the last several years and Frangoulis doesn't expect anything different Saturday.

"We've got one big one to play before we can take some time off," he said. "We've had our troubles with that team since I've been coach here. The three games they've lost this year were to undefeated teams."

He said Graceland always comes into the Baker game with confidence. But, he thinks the recent streak the Wildcats have put together will help.

"Our kids our confident, too, because we've won three games in a row," said Frangoulis.

After Saturday, Baker will have two weeks to mend the nagging injuries. Because the Wildcats played in a preseason bowl game, there was an open week in the schedule and Frangoulis didn't try to fill it for that reason.

"We'll try to get healed up," he said. "I didn't even look for another game. You're setting in mid season and it's a good time to take a week off."

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