It’s the biggest game of the season and the winner will have bragging rights clear up until the two teams meet again a year later.
Overall, Northwest Missouri State has had the upper hand in this heated rivalry, having won 21 games out of 33 total.
Western won the very first game between the two in 1981 and up until 1995, they were leading in the series.
Since, Northwest has had the Griffons number. For the past three years, Western has made the games a lot more competitive and the rivalry has intensified.
Not only has the improvement of Western headlined the last couple of games, but playoff implications have also made an impact recently.
This year is no different, with the Griffons in desperate need of a win against Northwest if they hope to keep their playoff hopes alive.
For the Bearcats, coming into the game they are 10-0 and look to locked up home field advantage in the playoffs.
Western will need help from a couple of teams in order to reach the playoffs, plus a win against Northwest.
The Bearcats defense has been the talk of the town in Maryville and could be the determining factor in the game.
Northwest will be traveling to Spratt stadium this time around, after falling to Western in a thriller last year, 21-20.
Tight end Reggie Jordan has had some bright moments against the Bearcats in his career and he understands that this will be his last time partaking in the storied rivalry.
“My thoughts going into this game is only worrying about the things I have control of,” Jordan said. “Us, seniors only have one more guaranteed game so expect us to leave it all on the field.”
MIAA honors were giving this week to a player on each team. Northwest defensive end Matt Longacre was honored for his play against Emporia State, while Western running back Raphael Spencer was also honored for his play against Washburn.
Spencer has rushed over 1,200 yards this year and also leads the team in rushing touchdowns with 11.
Like Jordan, Spencer said that there was nothing much else to say or do, but go out and win.
“We have to leave it all on the field,” Spencer said. “Rather we make it to the playoffs or not, we have nothing to lose. It’s a rivalry game, we are just going to perform our best and work hard in the weight room all week.”
Linebacker Yomi Ali noted that his team still has life, and playing at Spratt stadium will make a huge impact in the game.
“We are taking everyday in stride, trying to go as hard as we can and getting better,” Ali said. “The season is not over. Spratt stadium is a place we like playing in and it’s a home crowd that we love and always can count on.”