Oct. 28, 2013
Football's Meinert enjoying chance at senior seasonBy David Boyce
This story was run in the Northwest Missouri State football gameday program on Oct. 26, 2013 vs. Missouri Southern.
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Each day Northwest Missouri State senior defensive end Matt Meinert steps on the football field in his Bearcat gear, he is thankful.
Meinert will savor every moment in today’s game against Missouri Southern. He is one of the captains on a football team that has been ranked in the NCAA Division II top 10 all season.
Nobody would have blamed Meinert if he put away the helmet and football pads after last season. He put in five years in the program. He battled through injuries. He already had made an impact.
A year ago, Meinert was excited about his senior season. In his first play of the first game of the season against East Oklahoma at Bearcat Stadium, Meinert tore his ACL and meniscus covering a punt. He wasn’t hit. He didn’t hit anybody.
“It was a non-contact play,” Meinert said. “I was just running down the field. It was the first play I was in, too. That was rough.
“I had been injured a few times, some bad luck.”
Because of the injury, Meinert still had a year of eligibility left. But was it worth coming back for more. Maybe it was time to move on.
Before making a final decision, Meinert discussed it with coaches. They knew what he brought to the program. They knew his determination to overcome adversity.
Shortly before he arrived on campus in 2008, Meinert wrecked his truck and was at KU Medical Center for a week. It meant he couldn’t practice his first semester in his redshirt freshman year.
“The first semester I was on the sideline trying to fit in as much as I could,” Meinert said. Meinert recovered. He saw action in five games in 2009, recorded 29 tackles in 10 games in 2010 and played in 13 games in 2011 and recorded a career-high seven tackles against Washburn.
Northwest head coach Adam Dorrel saw how much football meant to Meinert. He didn’t want him to make a decision based on the disappointment of how the 2012 season ended so quickly.
“He has been through a lot here,” Dorrel said.
“The one thing I told him is I thought he would regret it for the rest of his life. I think he made the right decision. He seems to be really enjoying himself. He is having a really good year.”
Meinert’s teammates recognize what he brings to the team. He was voted one of the team captains last spring.
“It is a great honor,” he said. “It is hard to explain. Having that many guys look up to you and believe in you as a leader is something great.”
Solid leadership from the seniors is what has kept the Bearcats grounded as they have risen to near the top in the national rankings.
Meinert is one of three six-year seniors. Each of them has overcome injuries to be able to put on a Northwest game jersey one more season.
“It’s me, Billy Creason and John Petroff,” Meinert said. “All three of us are six-year seniors. That brings experience from older guys. We have some guys that have played a lot in the past years.”
They truly know what a tough situation is so a 10-point deficit doesn’t look so daunting to them.
When times get tough on the field, Meinert, Creason and Petroff are able to look their younger teammates in the eyes and prove to them that hard work, relying on teammates and coaches will help turn things around.
If Meinert walked away from football after last season, he wouldn’t be experiencing the joy of the perfect start to the season or playing in front of 20,000 fans at Arrowhead Stadium.
“I’m glad I made the decision to come back and get another shot at it,” Meinert said.
After Meinert plays his final snap for the Bearcats, hopefully sometime in December, his focus will shift to the job market. He is a business management and marketing major.
“I’m in the job market now,” Meinert said. “It is a little stressful at times, but it is exciting. It is another chapter in my book.”
The football chapter of his life is still has a few words left to be written. No matter how it ends, Meinert should be very proud of it. He got the most out of the sport he enjoys playing.
For more information, please contact:
Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
email@example.com | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582
Lamkin Activity Center | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468