Oct. 31, 2013
Washburn presents Senior Day challenge for Bearcatsby David Boyce | #2 Northwest vs. #8 Washburn | Saturday, Nov. 2 | 2:37 p.m. | Bearcat Stadium
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MARYVILLE, Mo. - When Northwest Missouri State football season draws to a conclusion, senior defensive tackle Bryant Hummel wants to symbolically stand where he actually stood as a senior at Clarinda High School in Clarinda, Iowa: at the top of a podium.
Hummel made it to the state wrestling tournament all four years in high school. In a state that takes pride in its high school wrestling, that is quite a nice feat.
As a senior, Hummel won a state title in his weight class. It takes a lot of hard work to win a state wrestling title in any state.
“It was one of the best feelings I have ever had, getting on top of that podium and knowing all my hard work paid off,” Hummel said.
“That is what we are shooting for this year. We are shooting for a conference championship first and then going on. It is great to know your hard work paid off.”
Hard work is what has put Hummel in the position he is in today for the Bearcats. He has gone from a walk-on, whose only responsibility was to long snap to a scholarship player who will start Saturday afternoon against Washburn in a late-season showdown between two unbeaten teams in the MIAA.
Oh, it is also the last regular season home game for the No. 2 Bearcats. And there is one more caveat: the game will be televised on the MIAA television package.
These are the kind of moments Northwest football players relish. It is one of the reasons they picked Northwest to play football.
“I’m extremely excited about it,” Hummel said. “It is a special time. As of right now, it is my last game at Bearcat Stadium. I’m going to go out there and do the best I can and help keep the season going. It is one more step in the journey we are going for this year.”
The personal journey for Hummel at Northwest has been remarkable, yet common with many players in the program.
“He is another senior who started as a walk-on and not just made it, but has done well and played a significant amount for us,” Northwest coach Adam Dorrel said.
The coaching staff saw toughness in Hummel when he attended summer football camp at Northwest. They knew one day that he would be more than a long snapper for them.
Hummel did a little bit of everything in high school. He played running back and linebacker and in his senior year, he was the quarterback.
For three seasons at Northwest, Hummel was a fullback. In Hummel’s freshman year, Rich Wright, who is now the defensive coordinator, saw something in him that planted a seed that one day he might be on the other side of the ball.
“Coach Wright used to joke with me about putting my hands on the dirt when I first got here. Honestly, I love playing for him,” Hummel said.
Through the years, Hummel added a few pounds. When Dorrel saw in the spring that he had a couple of fullbacks doing some nice things, he decided that Hummel would better serve the Bearcats on to the defensive side.
“We thought for him and his style of play, this was the spot for him,” Dorrel said. “We like his toughness. It is to the point we have to tell him to tone it done a little bit.”
Hummel is part of a unit that is creating havoc on the line. The defensive line has made it difficult for teams to run on them.
But the defensive unit is no different from the other units on the team. There are no stars on this Northwest team. They are a group of players after one goal.
“The one thing that stands out to me is we have a lot of trust in each other,” Hummel said. “Trust is a big thing for us. We know the guy next to you is going to do his job so we don’t have to be superman and do more than what we are supposed to do on a certain play.”
It is going to take that togetherness through this final stretch of the regular season. The Bearcats last three opponents have a combined record of 22-1.
“We know we have a big challenge,” Hummel said of Washburn. “They are good on offense. They have offensive linemen who are big and strong. We know we have a big challenge on D-Line.”
The final stretch of this Northwest football ride is drawing to a close for Hummel. He has made plenty of friends in the process.
“It is amazing, the friendships and the brotherhood we have created,” Hummel said. “We all feel like we are family. We help each other through everything whether it is classes or on the field.”
Hummel will finish his classes this spring in math education and then student teach next fall. He will also get married in the summer.
While many important football games loom, Northwest has already positioned Hummel for a successful start into the real world of earning a paycheck, paying taxes and being a responsible adult.
“It is kind of scary, but exciting at the same time knowing it is coming quick,” Hummel said. “I have a lot of things I want to do before that.”
One of them is a trip to Florence, Ala.
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