It Began with a bang. But Missouri Westerns Football opener was a little too close for comfort. The Griffons kicked off 2007 with a 42-24 win over NAIA Baker Saturday at Spratt Stadium. The Griffons used a pair of defensive touchdowns in the first quarter to take control of the contest early. They would add a couple more before the half was over to take a 28-10 lead into halftime. In the second half both teams would score a couple of touchdowns to make the final score 42-24. With the victory the Griffons move to 1-0 and the Wildcats fall to 0-1. Missouri Western’s Soane Etu (Jr., DL., Haywood, Calif.) opened up the scoring as he sacked the quarterback, forced a fumble, then scooped up the ball and rumbled in 41 yards for the touchdown. The Griffons would score their second defensive touchdown of the fist quarter at the 7:37 mark when J.R. Graham picked up the football and scampered in from 36 yards out to make the score 14-0. “I am pleased with the effort we gave tonight”, commented coach Partridge. “We did some good things but we also made some young rookie mistakes.” “We need to come in this week ready to get better and learn from our mistakes.” Baker would score on a 49 yard field goal by Derek Doerfler at the 3:52 mark of the first quarter but La’Darrian Page (Fr., RB, Lee Summit, Mo.) would score his first career touchdown on the next possession to make the score 21-3. The Wildcats would not go away as they would score on a 3 yard run by Mack Brown to cut the score to 21-10, but the Griffons were not done as Drew Newhart (Fr., QB, Cameron, Mo.) would hook up with Andrew Mead (So., WR, Gower, Mo.) for a 7 yard touchdown strike with just :26 seconds left in the half. That would mark Newhart’s first career touchdown pass. In the second half the Griffons would go on a 14 play 83 yard drive, which was led by Barron Bradshaw (So., QB, St. Louis, Mo.) and capped off by La’Darrian Page from 12 yards out. The only other score by Missouri Western was by red shirt freshman Thomas Hodges (RB, Raymore, Mo.) as he scored his first career touchdown from 2 yards out. In the game Baker had the ball for 34:26 minutes and had 20 first downs to the Griffons 13. The Wildcats also had 338 yards of total offense to the Griffons 254. La’Darrian Page led the way for the Griffons as he rushed 14 times for 87 yards and 2 touchdowns. Andrew Mead had 3 catches in the game for 33 yards and a touchdown and Cedric Houston had 2 catches for 27 yards. Frank Owens led the way for the Wildcats on the ground as he rushed for 94 yards on 21 carries and had 1 touchdown. Mack Brown passed for 137 yards on 12 of 21 with 2 interceptions. In his first career start Drew Newhart passed for 82 yards on 10-of-17 for 1 touchdown and an interception. Punter Jamie Hanson (Jr., P., Hamilton, Mo.) punted 4 times for an average of 45.2 yards and a long of 58. “I am happy with the win but we need to play better next week against Duluth”, said Partridge. “In order to be successful we need to do a better job of stopping the run.” Defensively the Griffons were led by J.R. Graham (Sr., FS, Plattsburg, Mo.) as he recorded 10 tackles on the evening. Seth Hane (Sr., LB, Cameron, Mo.) had 7 tackles for the Griffons. The Wildcats were led by Spencer Curran as he recorded 4 solo tackles and 6 assists.