Nov. 23, 2012
Williams and Bearcat defense ready for an encore
Kickoff: 12:00 p.m.
Stadium: Blakeslee 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):
Minnesota State Mankato: 5/2/1
Series: The all-time series is tied at 8-8. This is the first meeting since 2006 when Northwest won back-to-back games of a home and home series. The Mavericks have not beat Northwest since a 1995 win in Mankato.
Northwest: Adam Dorrel (Northwest '97) 21-4 (2nd season)
MSU Mankato: Aaron Keen (Washington '94) 11-0 (1st season as acting head coach)
Game Quick Links
By David Boyce
Junior defensive tackle Zach Williams is in his fourth year at Northwest Missouri State and he understands the one fundamental truth about the football program.
“I know everybody is going to have my back out there,” Williams said. “It is a great feelings going out with those guys knowing that we are all going to do our jobs.”
It is the mentality Northwest, 10-2, needs when they travel to Mankato, Minn., and takes on No. 1 seed Minnesota State Mankato, 11-0, at noon Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.
The Bearcats are facing a team that is sound in all three phases of the game, Northwest coach Adam Dorrel said.
“When we are on offense, we have to be patient,” Dorrel said. “They don’t give up big plays. They play a cover two scheme. They try to keep everything in front of them. You have to take what is there and what they are giving you.
“They have a kid who blocks punts. We have to identify him and block him.
“They have a really good quarterback and a really good receiver who reminds me of Jake Soy. Everything they do goes through those two kids. Everything they do, whether it is throwing the football or running goes through the quarterback and that good receiver. We got to limit those guys.”
Expect Williams to be ready for whatever the Mavericks throw at him and the rest of the Bearcats.
Williams’ preparation comes through experience. He arrived at Northwest from Center High School in Kansas City as a linebacker.
Like so many of the current Bearcats, Williams spent his first season in the program as a redshirt. During that process, he learned a new position.
“He has improved a ton. When he first got here,” Dorrel said, “everything was really foreign to him because he started playing d-line. In high school, they told him just go find the football. He has always been an extremely hard worker for all his years here.
“He has really grown and gotten really powerful. We thought we could use him more inside. It has definitely been a good move for him and us.”
In learning a new position, it takes time to see playing time in games despite all the hard work.
It is key for the young players to listen to the older players who tell them your time will come.
“The four years have been rough, but I’ve had great guys supporting me,” Williams said. “The older classmen said stick with it.
“I got a little bit of playing time last year. I have always bought into this program. I love this program. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Now, Williams sees playing time in 30 to 35 defensive snaps per game or roughly 50 percent of the time when Northwest is on defense.
Williams rotates in and out of the game like others on the defensive line and that keeps the defense fresh and strong throughout the game.
Dorrel said having a deep bench on defense is critical during the playoffs.
“I think it is very important,” Dorrel said. “It really shows up this time of year. It makes your practice better year around.
“We always thought philosophically that we want to insert a kid who has had meaningful reps if somebody gets hurt. It has been awesome we’ve been able to do that and we have the kind of kids that we can put in there.”
Dorrel knows he can always count on Williams.
“He has always been a tough guy,” Dorrel said. “He practices through pain and injuries. It is fun for me to see him finally get some of the rewards.”
Williams is thrilled that he did his part to help the senior class play another game.
“Everybody supports everybody,” Williams said. “Everybody has love for each other.
“The experience and the atmosphere is why you stick it out in the tough times.”
And so often in this program, those tough times lead to something special.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582
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