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GC Tigers vs. Baker in NAIA First Round

Football Tigers Revved Up for NAIA FCS


Submitted on November 16, 2017

Saturday marks the 21st time in 30 years that Georgetown College football will lace it up in postseason action. This past Sunday, following the completion of an 8-1 season, the No. 12 Tigers team learned its fate in the 2017 NAIA Football Championship Series Playoffs.

GC was paired against Baker University, another school steeped in postseason tradition – 16th appearance since 1980. Kickoff is set for 2:07 pm ET and will be televised live on ESPN3 (check with your service provider*). A radio stream can be heard at bakerradio.org.

For those making the 600-plus mile trip (if coming from Georgetown) to Baldwin City, Kan., adult tickets are $10. Senior citizens (62 and older), military with an ID, students with an ID and youth (18 and under) are all $5. Parking is free.

The No. 6 Wildcats finished a 10-1 campaign and are looking to repeat a run of a season ago to the title game. BU finished runner-up in 2016, but has been on a mission in 2017.

Something Georgetown is familiar with as the team finished second in 1999 before hoisting back-to-back trophies in 2000 and 2001.

“Baker is a solid program, looking to add to what it did a season ago,” said GC coach Bill Cronin. “They are well coached and very disciplined in what they do.

“We also have the added challenge of traveling nine-plus hours for the game, but we have traveled well this season and I think that is because of our maturity.”

The Tigers have nearly 30 seniors this year and despite having a good collection of youth in the starting line-up, the veteran coach has leaned on his experienced players to help guide the group.

“I’ve seen us make progress and have a commitment to getting better every day,” Cronin said. “If you see improvement every week you know you have a special team, and we have that this year.

“I liked the way the guys finished the regular season. We were hustling on the field and very focused. We had one hard weekend that a few things go differently I think the story is different there, but we learned from it and hopefully that translates as we enter postseason.”

The team’s motto this year has been 1-0, win every day. The players have carried that attitude into practice. A lot of the skilled positions are young, but with the approach and dedication in practice have transformed into more seasoned veterans.

“We are young but mature,” Cronin said. “Our one senior on the offensive line has really brought those younger guys along, and we’ve seen improvement there. Our defense is pretty veteran expect our secondary. We have mostly sophomores with a junior transfer, but you see it coming together there. They have created some exciting plays this season.

“We have a sophomore quarterback that played some last year, but we are seeing him really start to mature into a more consistent player. I like his approach. He’s a student of the game, a great competitor, a great student, and a great leader.”

Georgetown did not expect to have a youthful backfield behind Riley Hall, but with the injury of senior running back Zach Harris sophomore Daric Pugh was thrust into the mix. He has handled the situation well, rushing for 641 yards on just more than 100 carries. He leads the team in touchdowns with 11.

“Daric has good size, is a good competitor who is developing and getting better with every touch,” Cronin said. “He’s been our workhorse inside the tackles and can really carry a pile. He is willing to do whatever we ask of him.”

Baker has had an insurgence of youth as of late due to an injury to senior quarterback Logan Brettell. A pair of freshmen quarterbacks from Texas has stepped in and helped the Wildcats stay on a winning track. Marco Aguinaga has stepped under center as the starter and in three starts he is 87-of-99 for 839 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.

Behind him is a freshman running back, JD Woods, who is having a banner season. He has rushed for 1,592 yards on 223 carries with 24 touchdowns. However, that runs straight into the strength of the GC defense – allowing a third-best in the nation average of just 78.3 rushing yards per game.

This is the first meeting between these storied programs and should provide a lot of excitement Saturday.

 

Prepared by Jenny Elder, SID

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* As far as we know, if you have already verified your TV provider, you will be able to navigate and watch all available content. If a lock icon appears next to your content, you will need to verify your account. Non-participating TV provider customers may have access to ESPN3 programming online at WatchESPN.com, as long as they subscribe to a participating high-speed internet service provider. Users accessing WatchESPN.com or the WatchESPN or ESPN mobile application via an on-campus (.edu) or on-base (.mil) network receive complimentary access to ESPN3 content.


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