Cardinals’ big plays flatten Wildcats
Big plays on a wet, sloppy Liston Stadium field sunk the Baker University Wildcats Saturday night. Arch-rival William Jewell struck fast with the big plays for the Cardinal's 23-17 Heart of America Athletic Conference victory.
"That's it in a nutshell," said Baker coach John Frangoulis of the big plays the Cards dealt the Wildcats. "They had the big plays from the get-go. That's been our problem all season and I don't know why."
William Jewell opened with an 80-yard kickoff return. After a Nate Tubach field goal for Baker, the Cardinals recovered a fumble and only had to drive 24 yards for another score.
"It was the big plays," said Frangoulis. "The kickoff return, then the fumble and we're down 14-3 before you know it."
It didn't get better in the second half. Early in the third quarter, Jewell's Mike Spriggs scampered 90 yards for another touchdown. The Cards also added a second-half field goal for all the points they would need.
Baker battled back with a pair of second-half scores. Junior quarterback Martin Updike scampered in from 33 yards for one of the touchdowns and Gerrad Speer capped a 41-yard drive with a two-yard plunge for the other.
The Wildcats also had a couple more chances, but had a drive end on a fourth-and-one and also couldn't keep Jewell pinned down near the goal line as time was running out.
"The effort was good," he said. "The kids battled back from a deficit. We got stopped on a fourth-and-one and that was critical.
"I thought our offense executed well. I thought Martin Updike played his best game wince he's been here," said Frangoulis.
Updike had 46 yards rushing, including the touchdown run, and was 17 of 29 passing for 125 yards and no interceptions. Ramon Barber had 68 yards rushing on 20 carries. Alpha Iscandari and Keenan Ganz both had five catches. Baldwin High School products Bryan Williams and Tyler Inzer chipped in with four and two catches, respectively.
Baker actually outgained Jewell in total yards, 261-230, but made up for it with return yardage and turning Baker's lone turnover into the early score.
On defense, Baker was led by Mark Miller and Karl Barron, who both had 11 total tackles, both having five solos and six assists. Eric Moore and Lance Moore were both right behind them with 10 tackles apiece. Eight of E. Moore's tackles were unassisted and he also had Baker's lone sack of the night.
The loss dropped BU's record to 3-4 overall and 3-3 in HAAC play. Jewell improved to 3-4 and 3-3.
Now Baker will face off with unbeaten and nationally ranked MidAmerica Nazarene at 2 p.m. Saturday in Liston Stadium for homecoming.
"It sure doesn't get any easier," said Frangoulis. "They're an excellent football team. They'll be highly ranked coming in here. We've pulled upsets before. That's why you play them."