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Northwest Bearcats

Press Release

Nov. 7, 2009

Senior Day for Two Former Spoofhounds

By Bryan Boettcher, Northwest Director of Athletic Media Relations and Sports Information

wilmes burnsides
Evan Wilmes Myles Burnsides

Athletes continuously come and go in the small town of Maryville, but today we honor two of the more decorated Spoofhounds to don Northwest's green and white in seniors Evan Wilmes and Myles Burnsides. The duo entered the program in 2005 and following a redshirt season, has played in all 54 Bearcat games since. Burnsides will make his 49th career start today. Wilmes is making his 38th.

Many fans in the stadium today can still picture the two lining up together as linebackers on Maryville High School's football field. Some may even remember parts of their senior season when Burnsides carried the ball behind Wilmes, his fullback and lead blocker.

When it came to selecting a college, neither showed much interest to any school other than Northwest. Wilmes realized the Bearcats provided him the most realistic opportunity to play football. Burnsides didn't receive a lot of honors in high school and was happy to be in the same program his father, Mark, had played for.

The 2005 season was spent on the scout team. Wilmes used the year to develop physically. Burnsides worked on finding a position.

"I had no idea where I was going to play," said Burnsides. "I knew I could probably play offense, but they stuck me at strong safety and that was a good fit for me. I traveled to one game my freshman year when our safeties were a little banged up. They redshirted me afterwards, but I knew that was the position I should play."

Wilmes learned all three linebacker positions but settled in at outside backer his sophomore season. He hasn't moved since and has registered more than 150 tackles in his career. His 47 stops this season are a career-best and rank third on the team, six behind Burnsides.

Admittedly, the two will never be one of the best athletes on the field on any given Saturday. Both are listed at less than six feet tall. Neither would say they have great speed. Yet neither has missed a game and Burnsides is the reigning national defensive player of the year.

"That was amazing," said Burnsides. "I didn't think there was any possibility of that ever happening. Evan and I started going to the weight room when we were in sixth grade. We've always had older guys instill in us the hard work and discipline it takes to win and we're grateful for that."

"A lot of our success comes from the work we put in off the field," added Wilmes. "Football means a lot to this town and that's something that's been ingrained in us growing up. We knew how serious it was for us to be on the field making plays to win."

It's that effort that's helped push this year's group of seniors to the top. A win today against Central Missouri would complete an undefeated, four-year run through the MIAA, a feat that's been accomplished once in program history.

"(Northwest Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Joe) Quinlin was telling us the other night that his 2000 class was the last to do it and that's pretty special," said Wilmes. "It goes to show what can be accomplished when you take one game at a time."

Defensive Coordinator Scott Bostwick has his defense at the top of the MIAA charts in almost every statistical category. Nationally, the Bearcats rank in the top 10 in turnover margin, sacks and interceptions. The relationship with Burnsides, his quarterback, has been instrumental in that success.

"The coolest thing about Myles is his ability to get us in the right coverage and make the right checks," said Bostwick. "We've leaned on him quite a bit and we've struggled at times when he's gone down this year. What he does isn't an easy thing for our young guys to do.

"Both Evan and Myles have gotten so much out of their bodies. Evan's made a lot of football plays for us through the years and both are typical townies. They show up, go to work and usually don't say a word."

Bostwick also mentioned that the two spend more time studying film than anyone else on the team. He called them 4.0 students who are also 4.0 football players and both have been honored as such. Burnsides earned academic All-America honors in addition to his four other All-America listings last season. Wilmes has been an academic all-district choice.

After football, you'll probably catch the two "townies", who've also lived in the same house for the last three years, out on the ski slopes in Colorado. Wilmes has a brother that lives out there and Burnsides had to miss last year's trip while rehabbing from a knee injury. Wilmes graduates in December. Burnsides has begun graduate school at Northwest and plans to complete his master's degree by next fall.

For more information, please contact:

Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
sid@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582

Northwest Athletics
Lamkin Activity Center | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468