Sept. 21, 2012
Gantz and ‘Cats get back to physical football
Kickoff: 4 p.m.
Stadium: Cope Stadium
Radio: Bearcat Radio Network
John Coffey (play-by-play), Matt Gaarder (color), Matt Brown (sideline);
Heard on on seven stations that covers four states in the Midwest, and on the Internet from the flagship station KXCV.
Series: Northwest leads all-time 5-3 and will be the first meeting between the schools as MIAA members. It is also the first meeting since 1990; UNK holds a 3-2 advantage all-time in Kearney, Neb.
Northwest: Adam Dorrel (Northwest '97) 13-4 (2nd season)
Central Missouri: Darrell Morris (Northwest '83) 92-39 (13th season)
Game Quick Links
By David Boyce
Junior tight end Joel Gantz is still looking for his first reception of the season for Northwest Missouri State. But the impact Gantz makes on the football team is the equivalent of somebody who leads the MIAA in receptions.
Northwest coach Adam Dorrel says Gantz has good hands. And sure, Gantz would like to haul in a pass or two to help the Bearcats in another way.
Gantz value to the team is blocking and opening up holes for the running backs and wide receivers down field.
“He’s a run-blocking tight end,” Dorrel said. “He is a run blocker first. He will tell you that. He takes a lot of pride in it. The modern-day tight end, you don’t find a lot who wants to block first.”
As Northwest heads into Saturday’s game at Nebraska-Kearney with a 2-1 overall record and 1-1 mark in the MIAA, Dorrel credits Gantz for the nice bounce-back victory against Fort Hays State after the loss to Central Missouri.
A week ago in practice, Dorrel watched Gantz take a positive attitude and pump up his teammates.
“After the loss, to see his energy level at practice was motivating to me,” Dorrel said. “He was very positive with the players. He was great with the skill guys. It was a motivating factor for a lot of our kids.”
The attitude displayed by Gantz at a critical point in the early part of the season, goes to the core of his being.
Gantz, an agriculture science major, grew up on a farm in Perry, KS. His family raises livestock and grows corn and soybean.
When Gantz finishes college and playing football, he will head back to his family farm.
“I can’t think of anything else I would rather do than being back on the farm,” he said. “Just being out and working with your family and going through things with your family and being outdoors and growing things and knowing your job is important. Well, every job is important. But people have to eat. It is nice to know you are helping in that manner.
“I love everything about it. It is something that is in your blood and what you were raised doing. There is a lot of hard work involved. Hard work is all you really know.”
With fall arriving, this becomes a difficult time for Gantz. A part of him wants to be home, helping his family with harvest.
Since he’s playing football at the school he loves, he’s determined that he’s not going to waste his time by goofing off in practice or in games.
“Football is a big deal to me,” he said. “If I’m going to be missing harvest I want to give it all I got here.”
It is important, Gantz said, that the Bearcats practice hard each week. They saw what a good week of practice led to in the Fort Hays State game.
Northwest enters uncharted territory in its schedule. The game at Nebraska-Kearney begins a three-week period in which the Bearcats play three teams who have joined the MIAA this year.
Next week the Bearcats play at home on Family Day against Northeastern State and on Oct. 6, they play at Central Oklahoma.
“We have a lot of new faces in our league,” Gantz said. “We are not familiar with them. We don’t know what to expect, especially our next three weeks.
“We got to keep building each week. We need good enthusiasm, have fun and high energy and focus on doing things the right way. That will get us where we want to be.”
The first practice after the loss to Central Missouri Gantz didn’t initially see that enthusiasm from some of his teammates.
“I just focused on getting everybody hyped up and going for the new week and put the last week behind us and mainly to have some fun and enjoy the grind,” Gantz said.
It is easy for the Bearcats to follow Gantz lead. He’s not going to hear the cheer of the crowd because of a block that springs a running back or a wide receiver for a big play.
Gantz works hard to help the team.
His payback comes in the form of the occasionally thank you from the skill position players and just seeing Bearcat Stadium packed with fans rooting for the team.
“There are so many good people in this town and university. It makes this program special,” Gantz said. “I fell in love with the community and the people.
“I just want to keep the tradition going. We talk about being hard-nosed, physical players who play hard. I just want to play hard every play. I just want to go out every game and play hard and keep the Northwest tradition of playing hard and having great tenacity going.”
Dorrel knows he gets Gantz best effort each week.
“He has played well all three weeks,” Dorrel said. “He is very unselfish. He works his tail off.
“He had nine knockdowns last week. He was cutting the linebacker who was coming over the top. He has been a good presence the last three weeks.
“We are just real proud of him because it takes a very unselfish kid to do what he does in games.”
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