Sept. 16, 2011
Bearcats travel to Lincoln for first time since '89
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Northwest Missouri State football coach Adam Dorrel could have been deceptive and only shown the second half of the Lincoln-Washburn game last week.
If he had done that, his Bearcats would have seen Lincoln outscore Washburn 20-0.
Washburn has given Northwest trouble in recent years so Dorrel could have insinuated that Lincoln is dangerous since the Blue Tigers prevented the Ichabods from scoring a single point at home in the last 30 minutes.
This strategy, though, wouldn't have worked. The Northwest coaching staff didn't recruit dummies. A player would have asked, "Coach, what happened in the first half? The final score was 66-26."
In the first 4 and ½ minutes, Lincoln looked completely overmatched against Washburn. The Ichabods scored four touchdowns and jumped to a 28-0 lead with 10:27 remaining in the first quarter.
When the first quarter concluded, Washburn held a 49-0 lead. The Ichabods could have scored 100 points in the first half if they wanted to.
Northwest players know if they brought their C game to Jefferson City Saturday for a 2 p.m. kickoff against Lincoln, they probably would still win easily.
But the Bearcats are determined to enter the game with the mindset they are playing an opponent capable of winning the MIAA.
"We need the same focus we always have," said senior safety Derrick Hightower. "You have to respect your opponents. They can have a terrible game one week and come out and have the best game against us."
Dorrel wants to make sure his team doesn't take a step back. Of course, winning is the primary goal for the Bearcats. But Dorrel wants to see improvement from last week.
He's not trying to hide what Lincoln did last week. Part of the weekly preparation is to show film and statistics of the opponent. The Bearcats saw how effortlessly Washburn scored against Lincoln in the first quarter.
To ensure that Northwest doesn't go into the Lincoln game with a lackadaisical attitude, Dorrel set some lofty goals for the team.
"In practice we are trying to grade out 85 percent or better and that's hard," Dorrel said.
Also in practice this week, the starters on offense went against the starters on defense. Normally, this time of the season, that doesn't happen, Dorrel said.
Senior cornerback Derrick Thomas has seen the film and is taking Lincoln seriously.
"I've seen a lot of speed from them. They have a great track team," Thomas said. "Some of their track athletes are on the football team. We have to worry about their speed as far as their receivers go."
Here is one other thing to ponder: The last time Northwest traveled to Lincoln the Bearcats won only 22-20. Northwest was ranked No. 14 at the time. But that was 1989.
Northwest is much different now. The Bearcats have won a MIAA-record 47 straight conference games. The last time Northwest lost a conference game was Oct. 29, 2005 against Pittsburg State.
A key reason for the long streak is Northwest treats every opponent with respect. Regardless what Lincoln did last week, the Bearcats are preparing like this is the team standing in the Bearcat way of winning a MIAA title.
"We are trying to get that conference championship," Hightower said. "We have to prepare like each opponent is capable of beating us."
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