Sept. 30, 2011
Jake Soy, not taking anything for granted
Throughout his years catching footballs for Northwest Missouri State, senior wide receiver Jake Soy has put up better numbers than what he had last week against Fort Hays State.
By most standards, Soy's statistics were good. He caught three passes for 62 yards, for an average of 20 yards per catch.
In the end, the numbers were secondary. He was happy to back playing a game. Soy missed the third game of the season at Lincoln because of a lingering foot injury that has bothered him since the start of practice.
"You realize games are going by and they are going by quickly your senior year," Soy said. "I want to savor every day."
Soy takes pleasures in doing some of the little things in football games that can lead to big plays.
In Northwest's 70-17 victory over Fort Hays last week, Soy sprung longer runs after catches by blocks he made down field. The plays were noted by head coach Adam Dorrel.
It is another way that Soy helps the Bearcats win. He has scored his share of touchdowns. In fact, Soy has caught more touchdown passes than any wide receiver in MIAA history.
Soy credits wide receiver coach Joel Osborn for placing an emphasis on downfield blocking.
"We get big plays because of blocking," Soy said. "I think we are one of the best blocking teams in the conference just because of our coaching. They are constantly telling us to block our guy down field.
"It's good to give back to your teammates and show you are working hard for them."
The success Soy has had on and off the field proves to his teammates that he's working very hard in every aspect of being a student-athlete.
Last year Soy, a business major, won the Ken B. Jones Award, which is given to the top male and female student-athlete who excels in athletics, academics and the community.
In winning the award, Soy showed how well rounded he is as a college student. He traveled to Haiti last spring for House of Hope Orphanage and Countryside Christian Church.
Soy planted two gardens, did maintenance work and helped rebuild a main road in a town that was destroyed by the earthquake.
Clearly, Soy has perspective and that has helped him get through his injury.
"I have been patient with it and prayed a lot about," Soy said. "I will continue to be patient with it.
"It was a great opportunity at that time of the season. It made me realize to appreciate it. You get a different perspective when you sit out and you have to watch the team and you are not out there with them."
A sore foot has not slowed Soy down. He spent 30 minutes after practice a week ago working on routes with sophomore quarterback Trevor Adams.
Adams became a starter in the third game when senior Blake Christopher suffered an injury. Christopher is expected to start Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium against Pittsburg State.
Adams is coming off a nearly statistical perfect game against Fort Hays in which he completed 17 of 23 passes for 346 yards and four touchdowns.
"I like to give a lot of credit to him and his preparation even before last week. He prepared every week like he was going to be the starter," Soy said.
"Last week we stayed after practice every day and worked on certain plays that either I didn't feel 100 percent on or he didn't. We really crisp those out and some of those plays we didn't run in the game.
"We probably ran 6 to 10 routes. A lot of it was communication."
Soy also offers words of encouragement for Christopher. He knows how patient Christopher was to wait his turn to become the Northwest starting quarterback. He was off to a great start in his first two games, completing 31-45 yards for 571 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.
"We have definitely been encouraging him," Soy said. "There is not a whole lot you can say. You have to wait for your time, and when your time comes make the most of it.
"He's going to miss a few games. It happens. It is football. When he does come back, he has to be ready to go. I think he will be."
Soy is ready for the next challenge. Pittsburg State is 4-0 and ranked No. 15 in the country. It figures to be the Bearcats' toughest game so far this season.
Northwest has blown out its first four opponents. It's a stark contrast to much of last season when the Bearcats won close games.
"People would almost criticize us for it," Soy said. "I took it as a compliment because we knew how to win close games. Up to this point, we don't know how to win close games, which is not a bad thing. We've taken care of business early.
"We really haven't been tested yet. We haven't had adversity yet. We've played well. I'm really looking forward to a solid game against Pitt. State. Last year they almost came back and beat us. It came down to the last play."
Whether the game comes down to the final seconds in fourth quarter or not, Soy will be ready no matter how he feels physically. Even a tough linebacker like senior Chad Kilgore can see the toughness in Soy.
"He seems like a tough guy. If you watch that Texas A&M-Kingsville game last year, he was getting drilled and he kept on playing.
"He had a rib injury his sophomore year and he played with that. He seems like a pretty tough guy."
The Bearcats definitely count on Soy.
"He's a tough guy," Dorrel said. "I've always been very appreciative of him. He's gotten tougher physically and mentally as he's come through our program. I've been proud of him.
"He hasn't let the injury become a distraction. I'm excited he's back and going full speed."
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