Nov. 11, 2013
Consistent Bearcats remain focused, motivatedBy David Boyce
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Northwest Missouri State football coach Adam Dorrel spent a few minutes Sunday afternoon talking to his players about not getting caught up in the hype of Saturday’s game at Missouri Western.
He is sure a few media types will bring up the revenge factor for the upcoming game. Last year, the Bearcats let a lead slip away from Missouri Western in the regular-season finale. It cost Northwest the game and the MIAA title.
Dorrel, though, knows he doesn’t have to talk much about it to his players.
“We have an intelligent football team,” Dorrel said.
It means the Bearcats understand exactly what is at stake for the 2:37 p.m. kickoff at Spratt Stadium.
Northwest, 10-0 overall and 9-0 in the MIAA, wants to win the MIAA title outright, earn a bye week for the NCAA Division II playoffs and have the home field throughout the playoffs.
“Those three things,” Dorrel said, “will be our focus this week. We want to have a great week of practice to prepare for Western.”
For the Griffons, this is their Super Bowl. A lot of things must happen for them to slip into the playoff picture again. They have no chance of repeating as conference champions or even finishing second and third place looks doubtful.
Their last real satisfaction for the 2013 season is to be the MIAA team that puts a blemish on the Bearcats’ sparkling season.
One reason Northwest has gone through the season undefeated is because the Bearcats prepare specifically for the game they are playing. They haven’t looked ahead or looked back.
After an emotional 24-13 victory against Pittsburg State, the Bearcats didn’t bask in the glowing of that win. Instead, they concentrated on Missouri Southern.
And when they played Missouri Southern, the Bearcats didn’t look ahead to the game against Washburn, which was undefeated at the time.
“I have been very proud of our team and the way it focuses on the game it is playing,” Dorrel said. “They love coming to practice. They love playing on Saturday.”
It showed in the last game at Emporia State. The Hornets were undefeated and feeling very good about themselves after winning at Missouri Western the previous week.
Emporia State took a 7-6 lead with 4 minutes left in the first quarter. How would the Bearcats respond to a deficit on the road against a good team playing with confidence?
The Bearcats rose up against a hot quarterback, preventing Emporia State from scoring again until 5 minutes remained in the third quarter. By that time, Northwest had scored three more touchdowns for 27 points.
“I was fairly pleased with how we responded,” Dorrel said. “We haven’t been in that situation in a while. Nobody panicked. We played really well after that.”
Northwest went on to score three more touchdowns before the Hornets tacked on a meaningless touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
“We ran the ball well,” Dorrel said. “I thought our quarterback played well. Offensively, we were spreading the ball around. That makes it hard to defend us.”
The outcome was typical of almost all the others this season. In eight of their 10 games, the Bearcats have won by more than 20 points. There is no reason to think the Bearcats’ focus will disappear this week because they are facing a rival.
Dorrel expects another solid week of practice for the next big game of the season, and from here on out, each game gets bigger.
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Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
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