Stephen Solomon: fierce rivalry

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Another chapter of the Missouri Western and Northwest rivalry will go down in the book this Saturday, as the Griffons face the Bearcats in a conference football game.

Western football team will travel to Maryville to face off with the defending champions in a fierce rivalry that has the Griffons as the underdogs this year.

In their 33 years of history, Northwest is winning the series 23-12, but that won’t sway the Griffons. Over the last four years, Missouri Western has beat Northwest twice. Once in 2012, coming back from a 17-point deficit at halftime.

Whenever both teams play each other, it is the most attended and anticipated game of the season, especially in football. Both teams just don’t like each other. It is also a very competitive, hard-hitting game, and the intensity is palpable.

This intensity stems from more than just a will to win a game, it goes beyond football, it lies in the very meaning of the rivalry.

Athletics is not the only thing the two schools compete in. Mallory Murray, director of public relations and marketing at Missouri Western, spent five years working for Northwest in their marketing department. Having spent time calling both universities competitors, Murray understands better than most the depth of this rivalry, calling it one of the greatest college rivalries in our area.

“We are more than just athletic rivals,” Murray said. “We fight for the same economic resources, enrollment and on the athletic field, which adds substantially to the rivalry.“

St. Joseph is one of the biggest recruiting cities for Northwest. They promote their school heavily throughout the city with billboards, business sponsorship and even a satellite location of their university. Many Missouri Western students are aggravated with this much promotion by the rival school.

Jacob Dowell, a senior at Missouri Western says Northwest has always advertised here, and he has never been a fan of it.

“It feels like Northwest is intruding on our territory,” Dowell said. “It hurts that the city of St. Joseph would allow them to do so.”

For some, the rivalry isn’t as personal. Hannah Sindelar, a junior at Missouri Western, just transferred from Northwest after spending her first two years of college there. She too, has a unique understanding of the rivalry, spending time at both schools. Wanting to spend some time away from her hometown of St. Joseph, Sindelar chose to attend Northwest, but as the years went by, she spent more and more time in St. Joseph, helping her to decide to come back home. She believes the rivalry is so strong because of the proximity between the two schools.

Corey Myers, a junior at Missouri Western, has spent his entire life in St. Joseph. He has attended many athletic events where the Griffons faced the Bearcats, but he believes the rivalry is based on the schools themselves.

“Both schools are very similar,” Myers said. “They are close to the same size, they are both known for athletics and both schools see each other at almost every regional college event, not only sporting events. We hate each other so much because we are so similar.”

Coming into the game after a stunning loss to Emporia State on Homecoming, the Griffons look for some retribution. However, it won’t be an easy task beating the defending champs. Two weeks ago, Northwest also lost on Homecoming. They are still reeling from that loss and will be looking to further there goal of a second straight title by defeating there rivals.
The game will be held in Bearcat Stadium with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m.

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