Nov. 9, 2012
No. 4 Bearcats and No. 11 Griffons battle for MIAA Title
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):
Missouri Western: 11/9/5
Series: Northwest leads the all-time series 22-11. The Bearcats have won 9 of the last 10 meetings with both teams splitting last year's meetings. This will be the fifth time in three years the two teams have met.
Northwest: Adam Dorrel (Northwest '97) 20-4 (2nd season)
Missouri Western: Jerry Partridge (Missouri Western '85) 121-63 overall (16th season)
Game Quick Links
By David Boyce
Once in a while a rivalry football game between neighboring colleges transcends bragging rights into something much bigger.
From all indications, Northwest Missouri State regular-season finale against Missouri Western, 2:30 p.m. Saturday have all the ingredients of an epic battle that will be discussed for years to come.
Well over 10,000 fans are expected to enter Bearcat Stadium for what some are calling the “Brawl for it all.”
The 15-team MIAA conference ranges from Hays, Kan., to St. Charles, Mo., to Edmond, Okla., to Kearney, Neb.
Despite the expanse of the MIAA, the football title will be decided in the Northwest corner of Missouri between two schools separated by a mere 35 miles.
“It says a lot about the high school football in the area,” Northwest coach Adam Dorrel said. “If you look up and down the rosters, we have a lot of similar kids from the Midwest. I think it is pretty neat that two schools that are 30 minutes apart are playing for a championship and the right to go to the playoffs.”
Northwest and Western have identical records of 9-1 overall and 8-1 in the MIAA. The winner wins the conference title outright and assures itself a spot in the NCAA Division II playoffs.
The team that falls will have to wait anxiously overnight and into the early portion of Sunday to learn its fate. Most likely, though, both teams will reach the playoffs regardless of the outcome.
A year ago, Northwest lost to Western by three points in the next-to-last regular season game and then beat the Griffons 35-29 in the first round of the playoffs.
This will be the fifth time the Bearcats have played Western in the last three seasons.
“We ended their playoff hopes last season,” Northwest senior running back Jordan Simmons said. “I’m sure those guys haven’t forgotten that. They are going to come in with a chip on their shoulders. We just have to be ready for it.
“We have a good feel for each other the last couple of years. It has always been a great game. I’m sure Missouri Western is going to come up and play their best. They are going to bring their A game. We hope to do the same.”
Not be lost in Saturday’s game is the fact that it is senior day for the football team. The seniors want to win their last regular season home game. It could very well be the last time players like Simmons suit up for a game at Bearcat Stadium.
“What better way to end the regular season with a conference title against Missouri Western on senior day. I feel we are going to approach it as another game,” Simmons said.
As much as is at stake for the Bearcats, they know the reason they have been successful the last two months is that they have focused on their task.
When they lost the second game of the season at Central Missouri, they didn’t take the approach they had to win the rest of their games to reach the playoffs. The Bearcats concentrated on their next game, which was against Fort Hays State.
When they had to spend the entire month of October on the road, Northwest didn’t look at the month as a whole, but at each individual game as they played them.
Now, Northwest is facing its third straight team that enters the game with just one loss.
“We have done a great job of blocking out outside distractions this year,” Simmons said. “As long as we can do that this week and stay focused and composed on Saturday, I think we will be just fine.
“We’ve done a great job of taking it one game at a time. We tried to take it step-by-step and learn from each game. We tried not to make the same mistake and that has helped us grow as a team.”
Simmons has faced Western’s rugged defense enough to know he’s in for a bruising day.
“They have a great D-Line,” Simmons said. “Those guys have been together for a while. They are mature group of athletes. We have to be sound in our protection. We have a good game plan. If everybody do their job and not outside their realm, we will be fine.”
Offensively, Western likes to run behind senior running back Michael Hill. Last week Hill ran for 259 yards and three touchdowns.
“That kid is a good player,” Dorrel said. “But you have to be a little careful you don’t forget No. 11 (Tarrell) Downing at wide receiver or No. 80 (Kyle) Knox. They have two good receivers who I don’t think get enough credit. They are a complete team.”
Northwest is also a complete team, which makes Saturday’s match-up with the Griffons so compelling.
It’s the 2012 MIAA must-see game of the football season. The game will be televised as the MIAA TV Game of the Week.
But this is the type of game that must be viewed in person.
“It is going to be a great atmosphere,” Simmons said. “My family has been at all my games. I’m not sure they will see one as big as this one.”
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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