One win in 10 years — it doesn’t matter anymore. One win this season, that’s what matters.
Missouri Western plays its Highway 71 rivals Saturday afternoon at Spratt Stadium, a game anticipating a record number attendance. But how many fans will be there that sport black and gold? Definitely more than ever, as the student body will not just sit on their hands and fans will storm the stadium. But what about the people outside of Western?
Not only will green swoop down 40 miles from Maryville to see a game that would all but clinch the winner a playoff birth, but perhaps steal the fans of St. Joseph, and turn whatever loyalty and team spirit residing in their hearts green as well.
It’s not out of the question to ask if St. Joseph is Northwest’s hometown. Controversial? Yes, but what rivalry games aren’t? This game is bigger than it has been before, and that includes last season’s playoff game. Why? Years down the line can be affected by the outcome of Saturday’s game.
As of now, St. Joseph doesn’t exactly stampede the parking lots at Western Saturday afternoons. But the majority of them don’t head up to Maryville either. Now that the game has this sort of “win or go home” scenario, fans finally have the opportunity to see both teams play for stakes higher than before, right here in St. Joseph.
So when Todd Adolf or Greg Zuerlein kick off Saturday, there should be well over a thousand fans that just want to see football, that just want to see two teams play to the whistle blows. If this is the case, and Western pulls out the win, the fans that leave Saturday’s game will want to see them more. If Northwest wins, St. Joseph will once again wait to see the Bearcats play on television, deep into November, hoping that they keep advancing. Because the Griffons might not be there.
When Western announced Kurt McGuffin was the new director of athletics, he referred to Western becoming St. Joseph’s team, not just the Griffons. A win Saturday will be a huge step.