Nov. 4, 2012
Simmons weaves his way to Don Black Award
By David Boyce
As Northwest Missouri State senior running back Jordan Simmons received smiles, hugs and praise for his performance Saturday afternoon, 10-year-old Josh Meacham waited patiently.
Simmons was one of many Bearcats who contributed to a splendid performance on a stunningly beautiful afternoon in Maryville for Northwest Homecoming game.
In Northwest’s 55-10 victory over Emporia State, Simmons scored four touchdowns. He rushed for 90 yards in 10 carries and picked up another 34 yards in four receptions.
Simmons had an electrifying 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that quickly erased the only deficit by the Bearcats and gave Northwest a 7-3.
So it was understandable why so many people wanted to shake Simmons hand after the game and say nice job.
Finally, though, Josh saw an opening for his turn. Josh’s father, Jay Meacham of Kearney, Mo., said his son always wanted to meet Simmons and then asked if he could take a picture of the two of them.
Josh and Jordan smiled for the camera.
For Jay Meacham, a 1987 graduate of Northwest, it was another Bearcat moment that will live for years in the photo album.
Simmons left Josh with a great moment. The kickoff return by Simmons was a nice moment in a game filled with them.
“That was awesome,” Josh said.
Simmons took all the attention he received in stride saying he won’t allow it to go to his head. He was only doing his job Saturday afternoon.
“I come out here and play football and try to put on a show for the fans,” Simmons said. “They come here and show us support and I try to give back.”
The first time he touched the ball he had one thing in mind.
“I tried to be a momentum changer. That’s what I try to do,” Simmons said.
The kickoff return for the touchdown came with 6:34 left in the first quarter.
“He is dangerous,” Northwest senior offensive lineman Rod Williams said. “That is why we have had him back there the last four years. I have seen him do that the last four years. Anytime he gets his hands on the ball, he has big-play potential.”
The rest of the game Simmons put on his hard hat and did blue collar work behind an offensive line opening holes for him, James Franklin and Billy Creason.
Simmons scored on a 1-yard run late in the first quarter that increased Northwest’s lead to 14-3. Simmons added another rushing touchdown with 36 seconds remaining in the second quarter that sent the Bearcats into halftime comfortably ahead 38-3.
“As long as we do our job and get a body on a body, it is magical to watch our running backs,” Williams said. “I feel we should rush for over 200 yards every week with those two guys.”
Against Emporia State, the Bearcats beat that mark by over 100 yards, rushing for 318 yards while the Northwest defense limited the Hornets to a paltry 20 yards for the entire game on the ground.
“The O-line, the receivers have done a great job,” Simmons said. “We really put it together the last couple of games. Everything is really clicking. We are trying to carrying this over against Western and hopefully into postseason.”
Northwest faces rival Missouri Western next Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Bearcat Stadium in a true MIAA showdown in the final regular-season game. The two teams are tied for first in conference. The winner gets the MIAA first-place trophy.
The Bearcats have come far since their 31-21 loss at Central Missouri on Sept. 8.
“If you look at this program, we have not had a perfect season since 1998,” Williams said. “Every year we get a loss early and that’s a rallying point.
And this year, with it being to UCM and the way we played in general, I think after that week the seniors and the captains got together and felt like we had to take more control of the team. We addressed to the team that we are playing for each other. Since then, we turned it around, started playing for each other and you see the results.”
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