This football season for the Griffons can be pretty much summed up in two words: deja vu.
For the second straight year, the Griffons finished the regular season at 8-3, and they will once again play the Augustana Vikings in the 44th Mineral Water Bowl.
Western hopes not to repeat the result from last year’s game. The teams were dead even after the first half at 16. The Vikings would then score 21 unanswered points in the second half to send Missouri Western back home with a defeat.
Western’s best chance of getting revenge on the team from South Dakota will be to slow down Viking running back Joe Clark. Clark rushed for 1,075 yards and averaged 5.1 yards per carry. Augustana’s passing game is just as formidable as their running game. The Vikings had 29 passing touchdowns this season and averaged 234.7 yards passing a game.
Junior Missouri Western quarterback Drew Newhart can appreciate the passing game of his opponents. Newhart knows that the Griffons are going to have to bring their A game to defeat Augustana.
“Augustana is a good team,” Newhart said. “They play physical and fast and do a lot of things on defense. I think we need to go out and punch them in the mouth first and that could dictate the outcome.”
Although he didn’t play in last year’s bowl game, running back Michael Hill knows how important the win will be for the team.
“Beating them would mean a lot, we are 8-3 right now and we could beat them to be 9-3 overall,” Hill said. “A 9-3 record can help us in recruiting and shows people that we are hungry for the win and that even though we didn’t make the playoffs, we are still a great team. Plus, we want revenge on them.”
With the couple weeks off, the team has been preparing for their last battle of the season. Hill believes that the coaching staff has prepared the team for victory.
“The coaches prep us like they have on any other game: we watch film and they find weaknesses and find plays in the playbook that will be effective,” Hill said.
Missouri Western hopes to end their season on a positive note. Some might view the season as a disappointment since the team didn’t make the playoffs, but teammates Newhart and Hill feel that a win in a bowl game is a huge positive for them.
“This season has been a good year, we need to get a win and end the season on a positive note,” Newhart said.
“This win will for sure be great for the season, by showing that we finish what we start,” Hill said. “It will also start us off on the right path for next season ending on a good note.”
The Griffons will take on the Augustana College Vikings Saturday, Dec. 5 in Excelsior Springs at noon.