No. 11 Griffons return home to face No. 25 Washburn on senior night

By Kyle Inman

November 9, 2012

After two dominant road performances, the No. 11 Griffons return to Spratt Stadium at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3, to take on No. 25 Washburn in a pivotal MIAA contest on senior day.

Washburn is 7-2, but Northwest Missouri State beat them 56-6 last week on their home field.

“Washburn is a good football team,” coach Jerry Partridge said.  ”They have had a very good year. They had a tough week last week, but I don’t think they were themselves that week. They are always physical, well-coached and do the fundamental things right.  They play well in all phases. Offensively they can run the ball and make plays throwing the football, and defensively their linebackers are very athletic and they have size in the front.”

The Griffons are on a roll lately, defeating two of the top-ranked teams in the MIAA — and the country — on the road when they played Pittsburg State and Emporia State.  This week the Griffons are back playing at Spratt Stadium, where they took a one-point loss to Southern the last time they played.

“We’ve been playing pretty well at home, too,” Partridge said. “I think we’ve been playing well all year long, but to me the last two weeks we’ve played are best.”

The Griffons have gained 982 yards on offense in the last two games with seven different players scoring touchdowns while the defense has only allowed 42 points, most of which came with Western’s starters sitting on the bench.

Washburrn is led by quarterback Mitch Buhler, who has thrown for 1,692 yards on the season with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. He has several main targets to throw to with Matt Kobbeman gaining 435 yards and four touchdowns, Tore’ Hurst has 324 yards and three touchdowns, Jordan Hart has 307 yards and four touchdowns, and Ryan Mertz catches passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns.

“I think they are a good ball club,” defensive end David Bass said.  ”Ever since I’ve been here, they have done what they had to do to win.  They are a 7-2 program so I’m no sleeping on them.”

Hayden Groves leads the Washburn rushing attack with 593 yards and six touchdowns on the season for an average of 4.3 yards per carry.

The Griffons aren’t going to overlook Washburn despite its big loss last week because they know how it feels to bounce back from a loss.

“They are still a tough team,” running back Michael Hill said. “They got beat pretty bad against Northwest, but look at us, when we got beat and came back and were ready to go and did some damage on Pitt.  We just have to prepare for this like any other tough MIAA game.”

Both Hill and Bass have been four-year players at Western, and they want to come away with a victory on their senior night.

“I have 22 other brothers out here with me, and I want to go out with a win, not for myself, just for them,” Bass said.  ”It’s our last time at Spratt in the regular season, so we want to make it perfect.”

“It’s definitely going to mean a lot,” Hill said. “‘For all these guys in the class and the coaches and everyone a part of Mo West,  It makes you think back – and it goes fast – and just cherish it. “