Baker falls to Missouri Valley
MARSHAL, Mo. After digging themselves a 21-3 hole, the Baker University Wildcats refused to give up against nationally ranked Missouri Valley here Saturday and came up just short in falling 35-32.
"That's a test of a lot of character," said Baker coach John Frangoulis. "If there was a time for them to do it (give up), it was Saturday and they didn't do it.
"Things weren't going our way against a nationally ranked team," he said.
Missouri Valley scored two quick touchdowns to go up 14-0. Baker's Nate Tubach got the Wildcats on the board with a 29-yard field goal, but Valley answered with a long touchdown run to gain that 21-3 first quarter advantage.
From there, Baker outscored MV 29-14, but it wasn't enough. Gerrad Speer started the comeback with a three-yard touchdown run just into the second quarter. Missouri Valley answered with a touchdown pass for a 28-10 halftime lead.
Baker quarterback Martin Updike got the air game going to open the second half and hit Justin Cobb with a 10-yard scoring strike to get the second-half comeback started. Again Valley answered with a touchdown, but that would be it. MV had a 35-17 lead going into the final frame.
Updike directed a 16-play, 71-yard drive to open the fourth quarter. He hit Baldwin native Bryan Williams with a five-yard scoring pass to cap the drive. Just two minutes later, following a MV turnover, Updike found Alpha Iscandari open in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown pass to pull Baker with 35-32 with 11:06 left. That's as close as it would get, however.
Updike ended the night hitting 17 of 31 passes for 254 yards and the three touchdowns. That moved Updike, a junior, into seventh place on Baker's all-time passing charts with 2,673 yards and 17 touchdowns. Cobb had a big rushing night, running for 115 yards on 20 carries. Iscandari was the leading receiver with six catches for 89 yards.
"It was the best offensively we've played all season," said Frangoulis. "It was exciting as hell."
On defense, Eric Moore and Lance Moore both had seven tackles, each with one for a loss. They also shared a sack.
The loss dropped Baker's record to 3-6 overall and 3-5 in Heart of America Athletic Conference play. Missouri Valley improved to 7-2 overall and conference.
The Wildcats will close out the home portion of their schedule with a 1:30 p.m. game Saturday against Central Methodist at Liston Stadium. Central Methodist has 3-5 and 4-5 records.
"Central Methodist is a much improved team as those four wins indicate," he said. "They haven't had four wins in four years, so that shows you something. It will be exciting. Most games in this league are."
The following week, Nov. 16, Baker will close out the season with a road game at Benedictine. Game time for that one is 1:30 p.m.