Nov. 2, 2012
Bearcats return for Homecoming vs Emporia St
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m.
Stadium: Bearcat 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.
Rankings (AFCA/D2Football/NCAA Super Region 3):
Emporia State: 20/25/6
Series: Northwest leads the all-time series 26-2. The Bearcats have won the last 17 meetings and have not lost to the Hornets since 1994 in Maryville.
Northwest: Adam Dorrel (Northwest '97) 19-4 (2nd season)
Emporia State: Garin Higgins (Emporia State '95) 70-44 overall (11th season) 19-36 at ESU (6th season)
Game Quick Links
By David Boyce
After spending October on the road, Northwest Missouri State football players will finally return to Bearcat Stadium for a Saturday afternoon on the gridiron.
Much has changed since the Bearcats last played at home on Sept. 29. The leaves have not only gone from green to red and yellow, they have fallen off the trees.
“To look at our kids’ faces after the game at Washburn was awesome. We are going back home,” Northwest coach Adam Dorrel said.
The atmosphere will be festive for many reasons. Northwest, Emporia State and Missouri Western are all 8-1 overall. The Bearcats take on Emporia State at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
“I think our players are taking them very seriously,” Dorrel said. “We both have a lot to play for. This time of the year, our players understand what’s at stake.”
Because of conference and playoff implications, the game will be televised as part of the MIAA TV package with Niles Media Group.
The best reason why Saturday’s game is so important is it is Homecoming at Northwest.
Dorrel, a lifelong resident of Maryville, remembers when he was a child watching the parade down Main Street.
As the football program has grown into a national power, Homecoming has gained even greater significance for current football players.
They get to see and hear past players who have made Northwest a perennial threat to reach the NCAA Division II national championship game.
“I met people like Mike Peterson, Xavier Omon and I met Dave Tollefson for the first time at a Homecoming,” said Northwest senior offensive lineman Rod Williams said.
“It is just crazy to see those guys who had so much success after they left here and the legacy they left here and you hear people talk about them like you have never seen a running a back until you see XO run. The Dave Tollefson guy was a beast.”
A few years back, Tollefson, who has played on the New York Giants’ last two Super Championship team, returned for Homecoming, which landed perfectly on a bye week for the Giants.
Tollefson, looking much like he did when he was a student-athlete at Northwest, talked with friends and fans throughout the game and afterwards.
“I think it speaks volumes for the experience Dave had here and all those guys,” Northwest coach Adam Dorrel said. “We really try to hammer that home in recruiting. We talk about family and it is not lip service.”
Once again, Homecoming will be special. On Friday evening, former Northwest football players Tony Miles and Aaron Becker will be among those inducted into the M-Club Hall of Fame.
“In my opinion, those are two of the best guys who have ever played here,” Dorrel said.
On Saturday morning, Dorrel will have former Northwest football coach Mel Tjeerdsma speak to the team.
As everybody knows, Tjeerdsma built this powerhouse football program and his wise words have the ability to inspire regardless of the setting.
Dorrel plans to have a few other former players talk to the current players.
“Some people might look at it as a distraction,” Dorrel said. “I think it is great for our kids to see how important it still is for the older guys who used to play here. They want to win.
“There will be a lot of former players here. They all show up. A lot of them come over to breakfast with us in the morning. They will be in the locker room and on the field before the game. I enjoy that.”
Dorrel is making sure his team is staying focused on the task at hand and that is winning the Homecoming game. It makes the afternoon better. No team enjoys losing its Homecoming game.
Win or lose, Homecoming 2012 will be a great afternoon in Maryville. Coach Tjeerdsma always instilled in his players that plenty of lessons are learned no matter what the outcome turns out to be.
The best lesson is the importance of family.
“The special thing about Homecoming for me is you get to see a lot of the players come back, a lot of the players who made the program what it is,” Williams said.
“They come back and spend time with us and enjoy the game. You get to pick their minds and tell stories about what Northwest was back in their day and what the school still means to them. They have been gone four or five years and they come back and you can see it in their eyes the passion they have for Northwest.
“As a player, you feel so much love from everybody. It is such a big thing. You could never tell this is a D-II school on Homecoming. It is just special to be a part of.”
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582
Lamkin Activity Center | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468