Nov. 22, 2013
Football's bye week spent refocusing, preparingBy David Boyce
MARYVILLE, Mo. - For the first time since the leaves were green and on trees and the temperatures were in the 80s and 90s, Northwest Missouri State football players were able to go through a week without thinking about a Saturday opponent.
The Bearcats truly earned a bye in the first week of the NCAA Division II playoffs because they were focused on their task each week.
They did not go into their week five game looking ahead to week six. When they played winless opponents in four consecutive weeks, they didn’t think about the final Fall Classic at Arrowhead against Pittsburg State.
“I am so proud of our senior class and the way those guys conducted themselves and the way they have played,” Northwest coach Adam Dorrel said. “They have been the catalysts for our football team. The way they have responded to adversity and got everybody going in the same direction is pretty neat.”
So the Bearcats spent this week resting their bodies, rebooting their minds, catching up on school work and going hunting.
“AD was joking around with us before the Missouri Western game saying for those of you who love to hunt, think of nine straight days of hunting,” junior linebacker D.J. Gnader said. “It is going to be a great feeling getting mentally and physically healed up.”
By beating Western 51-21, the Bearcats finished the regular season 11-0 overall, 10-0 in the MIAA and grabbed the No. 1 seed in Super Region 3.
“We just played 11 weeks in a row. We played great football teams. We are tired mentally, tired physically,” Dorrel said.
Don’t believe for one second that the Bearcats are taking a one week vacation from football. They have too much invested in this season to let one week without a game derail them from their ultimate goal.
Late Saturday afternoon the Bearcats will learn their next opponent after Emporia State and Minnesota-Duluth battle it out in the first round.
“It is huge for any team to have a bye week, getting an extra week of rest,” Northwest senior quarterback Trevor Adams said. “It will be good for us. But we have to keep working hard and keep getting better each week like we have. If we can get some rest and prepare mentally for who we are going to play, I think we will be ready to go.”
Gnader said seniors like Adams and Billy Creason and other leaders on the team have done an excellent job of guiding the 2013 Bearcats.
“It is truly amazing, but it starts with our seniors and leaders on the team,” Gnader said of the weekly focus. “When the going gets tough, a lot of us have experience. We do a good job of keeping kids heads up and getting everyone to believe. Everyone has believed all season. We fought to the very end. I’m so proud of my teammates and coaches.”
Next week is special for the football team. Because of their success, it has become a nice tradition. They will have Thanksgiving together because they are on campus preparing for a Division II playoff game. This will be the 10th straight season it has happened. It is a remarkable feat.
“We are going to spend Thanksgiving together,” Dorrel said with a huge smile on his face.
For more information, please contact:
Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
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