Baker falls to Culver-Stockton passing
CANTON, Mo. Nobody in the Heart of America Athletic Conference has come up with an answer for Clint Grothaus yet this season, as the Culver-Stockton quarterback has already totaled nearly 1,200 yards in just his first three games. The senior continued his dominance Saturday against the Baker Wildcats, gaining nearly 500 yards total offense in leading his 24th-ranked team to only its second win over Baker in the last 22 years.
Grothaus was impressive in his first two games. But he faced a bigger task against the Baker Wildcats, a traditionally tough defensive force. Grothaus proceeded to complete 23 of 38 passes for two touchdowns and 433 yards, helping to extend his team's record to 3-0 with the 31-13 victory. One of his touchdowns was a school-record 95-yard strike.
"He is good," said Baker's seventh-year head coach John Frangoulis. "We would get some pressure in on him, he would scramble around, we would come out of coverage, and he would take advantage. He is good on the run, we would try to contain him, but he just runs around and makes great plays because he is an athlete."
Baker's upstart offense continued to show promise, successfully moving the ball. But the Wildcat's inability to capitalize with touchdowns proved costly, especially when trying to keep up with an offense like Culver-Stockton's, who have now outscored opponents 120-21 this year.
Baker tailback Ramon Barber, who gained 205 yards last week, was held to just 56 yards on 19 carries. Junior quarterback Martin Updike continued to put up good numbers, throwing for 231 yards, but it wasn't quite enough. Baker kicker Nate Tubach was two for three on field goal attempts.
"We were dancing too much instead of hitting holes," Frangoulis said. "You have to run the football to win, unless you have the weapons like they have. They have some firepower."
Updike's top targets were senior Jason Filbeck (seven catches, 76 yards) and freshman Ryan Habich (seven catches, 89 yards).
Baker fought to within 14-10 just before the half, but Grothaus added a late TD to give Culver-Stockton a 21-10 lead. Midway through the fourth quarter, Baker again came within striking range at 28-13, but Grothaus completed a 41-yard pass to the five-yard line after Baker's failed onside kick attempt. Culver chipped in a 20-yard field goal to hold on for the win.
Frangoulis remained positive about his team's effort.
"I like the effort. These kids came to play, they always do, they play hard to the end," Frangoulis said. "We cut out a lot of the penalties, we just need to cut down on mental mistakes in terms of execution on both sides of the football."
The Wildcats fell to 1-2 on the year. They will play host to the Lindenwood Lions Saturday in refurbished Liston Stadium. Culver-Stockton routed the Lions 56-0 last week. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.
"They are young, but they have some athletes," said Frangoulis. "We have to get prepared for them."