Sept. 11, 2011
First home win special for Dorrel
No matter how many football victories await Northwest Missouri State first-year head coach Adam Dorrel, Saturday's 52-17 win over Sioux Falls will remain in his memory bank forever.
Dorrel has raced onto the field at Bearcat Stadium countless times as player, an offensive line coach and offensive coordinator.
But the 2011 home opener was different because it was his first as the leader of the Bearcats.
It even started a day before the kickoff when former Northwest coach Mel Tjeerdsma returned to Maryville with his wife Carol.
Tjeerdsma, who retired last December after 17 years at Northwest, and his wife were honored for all the contributions they made to the school and community.
"I think he had a great time," Dorrel said. "We had him talk to the team on Saturday at our pregame meal and it was great. Our players gave him a standing ovation. He gave a great talk.
"Just the whole university and show they put on for him I thought was really special."
Dorrel's special moment came a few hours later.
Once the game started, it was all business for Dorrel. Sioux Falls put the Northwest coaching staff in adjustment mode quickly.
The Cougars took a 7-3 lead in the first quarter. In a sense, Dorrel was glad to see the Bearcats face a deficit. A week ago Northwest easily won 65-3 at Truman.
"You have little teachable moments throughout the course of the season and I think that was one of them," Dorrel said.
The Cougars put a new wrinkle in their offense when they lined up in the I-formation to start the game. It was something Northwest didn't see on film.
Northwest had to change its defensive thinking. Dorrel was curious how his young defense would react.
"Our players really focused," Dorrel said. "We told them here is what we have to change. I was proud of our defensive staff. I thought they did a great job of making those adjustments. I was proud of our kids because they listened."
Northwest surrendered only one more touchdown the rest of the game and it came with just under 9 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, the Bearcats offense, under the leadership of senior quarterback Blake Christopher, zoomed along. Just like last week, Northwest scored often in the second quarter, putting up 28 points and taking a 38-10 lead into halftime.
Jordan Simmons scored three times in the first half. Jake Soy caught a touchdown pass.
The Bearcats have so many big-play players that wide receiver Taylor Pierce finished the game without a reception. Dorrel felt bad about that.
"The problem we have is a good problem to have and that is there are not enough footballs to go around," Dorrel said. "The more balanced you can be is what makes a really good offense."
Dorrel said the first drive in the third quarter when Northwest scored on a 51-yard pass play from Christopher to Kyle Kilgore put the game away.
Overall, Dorrel thought his team played hard and took care of business. But it wasn't a perfect game.
"The thing we have to work on is our defensive line has to do a little better getting off blocks," Dorrel said. "Offensively, we have to do a better job of pass protection. We didn't give up a sack, but we had too many people around Blake Christopher. We also need to clean up a few things on special teams."
Now it is time to look to the next game. The Bearcats will travel to Lincoln University and play the Blue Tigers at 2 p.m. Saturday in Jefferson City.
Lincoln is coming off a tough 66-26 loss at Washburn on Thursday. It could have been worse. Lincoln fell behind 35-0 before 5 minutes clicked off the first-quarter clock.
"We try to be honest with our kids. We will sit down and watch the tape. I think they (Blue Tigers) are going to be lacking a little bit. What you have to do is set some goals this week to motivate our kids, like specific position goals. Our d-backs need to focus on stripping the ball. We have gotten turnovers, but we have not stripped the ball yet.
"You have to do some goal setting in situations like that because if you just watch tape you are not going to get a ton out of it.
"We have to get better. We will find a way to get better this week and challenge our kids to play hard."
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