No. 11 Western to battle No. 4 Northwest for MIAA crown
By Kyle Inman
November 7, 2012
No. 11 Missouri Western (9-1, 8-1 MIAA) travels to Maryville to take on bitter rival No. 4 Northwest Missouri State (9-1, 8-1 MIAA), and the winner will be crowned MIAA champion.
Besides having the conference championship on the line, there are also post-season implications. The winner will host a home playoff game while the loser will likely be forced to play on the road.
“It’s going to be two good football teams battling it out and that’s the way it’s supposed to be,” quarterback Travis Partridge said. “We are all just looking forward to the whole scenario. It’s going to be a blast,”
This is the 18th time the Griffons and Bearcats have played in Maryville, and Northwest has won the last five straight. The last time Western won against Northwest on the road was in 2001.
The Griffons and Bearcats split games last season with Northwest winning a playoff game 35-29 and ending the Griffons season at Spratt Stadium. The Northwest fans proceeded to storm the field in celebration.
“It was a big win for them and a big playoff win so I expected them to storm the field,” coach Jerry Partridge said. “They’ve done enough things over the last decade and a half to fuel my fire, I’m not going to let one incident do that.”
Both schools have been blowing out high-quality MIAA teams over the last few weeks. Western has defeated Pittsburg State 63-14, Emporia State 57-28 and Washburn 56-28 while Northwest has taken down Missouri Southern 38-14, Emporia State 55-10 and Washburn 56-6.
Travis Partridge is used to preparing for tough MIAA teams on a weekly basis. He is motivated by the things the Griffons can gain by winning and has confidence in his team to get the job done.
“We’ve had three big football games in a row and we’ve had our backs against the wall and we’ve responded,” Partridge said. “They are a good football team but they are human just like everyone else.”
The biggest games freshman cornerback Michael Jordan has played in was a pair of state championship games in high school, but he said he’s ready to become part of this rivalry.
“I’ve heard a lot about the rivalry and that it will be real rowdy,” Jordan said. “I’m looking forward to it honestly. A lot of people around the town are talking about it like it’s the biggest game, and I know what’s at stake, but for me it’s just another game.”
Jordan will have his hands full with talented wide-outs Jordan Simmons and Tyler Shaw, but believes he can shut them down.
Travis Partridge said the hostile Northwest crowd won’t intimidate the Griffons.
“We’ve played in front of 12,000 at Pitt, and that was about as loud of a crowd as you can get,” Partridge said. “If you are a competitor, you look forward to this.”