BALDWIN CITY, Kan. -- Saturday was Blackout Day at Liston Stadium, and it was a dark one indeed for the visiting Missouri Valley College football team.
With the stands filled with fans in black jerseys, 24th-ranked Baker dimmed the Vikings' playoff chances by pulling out a 26-22 Heart of America Conference decision.
For the third time in the game, junior quarterback Mack Brown hooked up with senior wideout Tyrell Spain for a touchdown -- a 23-yard strike with 8 seconds left -- to give the Wildcats the win.
Although Baker took a 13-0 lead midway through the second quarter on receptions of 8 and 40 yards by Spain, it only took a 16-14 lead into halftime -- that because record-setting senior kicker Derek Doerfler booted a 28-yard field goal as time expired.
Valley had come back with a pair of scores late in the half, a 9-yard run by senior Robert Holmes capping a nine-play, 67-yard drive and a 55-yard bomb from sophomore Chris White to senior Javion Jones with 52 seconds left in the second period.
With the second-ranked defense in the NAIA, that should have sent the Vikings into the locker room with the lead, but Brown found senior James Hensley for 10 yards and junior Brad Fawcett for 12 before scrambling for 9 yards before being knocked out of bounds at the Valley 11-yard line with enough time remaining to give Doerfler a shot.
Doerfler nailed a 51-yard kick midway through the third period, but the final frame would see the MVC pull in front.
It wasn't easy, though, as the Vikings squandered one chance after another. Junior Adrian Trevino had a 32-yard field-goal attempt blocked and was wide-left on a 43-yard try.
The Vikings mounted a 10-play, 69-yard drive -- Jones catching a 24-yard pass and Holmes reeling off dashes of 16 and 14 yards -- to take a 22-19 lead on Holmes' 12-yard run with 10:28 remaining in the game.
Valley's defense came up with a pair of stops, but the offense couldn't extend the margin. Holmes was stopped short on fourth down and a yard to go at the Baker 10-yard line.
Still, with 3:15 to go, the Vikings could possibly run out the clock -- only didn't.
The Wildcats took over at their own 18-yard line with only 1:20 left, but senior Richie Bryant went 29 yards with a swing pass, then caught two more flips for 20 yards.
Senior Correy Webb knocked down a first-down pass and Brown misfired on second down, but on third and 10 he connected with Spain for the game-winner.
Brown racked up 299 passing yards for Baker (7-2, 7-1 HAAC), which is now tied with Lindenwood for second place in the league standings.
Holmes rushed for 196 yards on a career-high 40 carries as the Vikings (6-2, 6-2) lost for the second time in three games -- and are now expected to drop from the No. 7 spot in the rankings with two games remaining, including Saturday's home contest against Culver-Stockton.