Oct. 10, 2013
Gantz Focused on Saturday, Excited for FutureBy David Boyce | Northwest vs. Central Oklahma | Saturday, Oct. 12 | 1 p.m. | Bearcat Stadium
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MARYVILLE, Mo. - At 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon, Northwest Missouri State senior tight end Joel Gantz will run onto the field with his teammates. They will all wear special custom Adidas jerseys along with a special patriotic themed helmet decal.
It is the annual Military Appreciation Day game. The Bearcats, 5-0, will take on Central Oklahoma, 0-5, at Bearcat Stadium.
For this game, Northwest has teamed up with the Missouri National Guard on several promotions. The day gives Northwest football players and fans the opportunity to see the value in a strong military with dedicated soldiers.
Gantz, who will receive his degree in agriculture science in December, plans to return to his family farm in Perry, Kan. once he graduates.
“I know I will miss college and all it offers, but I am really looking forward to getting back on the farm and doing that the rest of my life,” Gantz said.
Gantz embodies the traits that have made the United States armed forces the greatest in the world. He works hard at his job. He is loyal to his family. He lets his action on the field do the talking.
“His personal accountability is very high,” Northwest coach Adam Dorrel said. “He is a very blue collar young man. That was the way he was raised. He knows how to work. He brings that mentality to practice every day. It really rubs off.”
Gantz is enjoying his final season of collegiate football. He has caught one pass this season. But his success is not measured in the stats.
Ask opposing coaches, Dorrel said.
On one certain play, the Northwest coaches ask Gantz to make a critical block.
“If he doesn’t make the block, we get nothing out of the play Dorrel said. “Obviously, we are spreading the ball around a lot so it is not showing up in the stat sheet. But I think if you talk with the other team coaches, they would recognize his blocking.”
True military heroes are not looking for individual glory. In fact, they don’t like talking about their successes. Success for them is the unit. They want the entire unit to leave a mission injury free and alive.
Northwest offense is about the entire unit. No one is likely to put up numbers that garners first team, All-MIAA honors. But the Bearcats are potent on offense because of the collective talents of all involved.
“We are the most dynamic since I have been here just because we don’t have a LaRon Council like we did my freshman year or a Jake Soy,” Gantz said. “We just have a bunch of guys. It really throws the opposing defenses off.
“It has been a lot of fun. We are tight knit group. We have come together as a team. There are no selfish players. As a senior that is all you can ask for.”
Many of the seniors on this year’s squad are soft-spoken, but they are every bit as ambitious as previous senior classes.
“We are tight,” Gantz said. “We have stayed pretty close throughout the whole thing. We want to leave our legacy like any senior class at Northwest.”
And that means they have to take Central Oklahoma seriously even though the Bronchos are looking for their first victory.
“They are no one to sleep on,” Gantz said. “They have a lot of good athletes, big guys upfront on D-Line and a couple of play makers on offense. They have played all the top teams in our league. They are a good team. We are going to come out and do our best.”
Dorrel said the Bearcats must play better than they did a week ago when they won 40-12 at Northeastern Oklahoma.
“I told our team we didn’t play well the entire second half,” Dorrel said. “We had too many mental mistakes. The backups in the game, they are one play away from being a starter so we are going to refocus, getting back to execution with are two group. Hopefully, you will see that Saturday, no matter who is in.
“We need to play a compete 60 minutes. I think that is very important.”
Gantz wants to make his last season at Northwest special. All the ingredients are in place for a memorable winter.
On Jan. 4, Gantz plans to marry his high school sweetheart, Kristin Robbins. She graduate from Missouri and now teaches at Tonganoxie High School.
“I am planning on getting two rings in a month,” Gantz said.
Bearcat fans definitely know what the other ring Gantz is after in December. There is no need to mention it because the Bronchos are coming to town. It is the only game that matters now.
For more information, please contact:
Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
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