“The football team just lost their home opener against the Northwest Bearcats on Saturday,” is something that would have been written last year on this day if not for current events.
On Sept. 5, 2019, the Griffons lost a nail-biter to the Bearcats in the late fourth quarter 35-45 at Spratt Stadium. This week they would have that “on to the next one” mentality preparing to take on top-25 nationally ranked Fort Hays State on the road - a game in which they defeated the Tigers 28-17 at Lewis Field Stadium in Hays, Kansas, last year.
For football players here at Missouri Western, this time of year it is typically practice, practice, practice. Head football coach Matt Williamson is usually busy at this time.
“We did start the first week of August,” Williamson said. “We usually get around 20 to 22 days of camp where it is unlimited time. We work with the kids. We train, watch film, work out, lift, we have treatments, meetings and character building activities.”
With a full schedule for a solid three weeks before their first game, this fall is a bit different for returning players such as Paul Sanchez. Due to COVID-19, the MIAA postponed all fall sports seasons and the football team was just recently able to start practicing again.
“We practice Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays,” Sanchez said. “We have to wear masks and social distance, but we're still playing.”
When thinking back to their home opener last season, Sanchez remembers practicing and preparing for that one game like no other.
“We were prepping pretty hard. The one thing in the back of our head was 'we’ve got to beat Northwest.’ That’s a big rivalry game," Sanchez said.
Williamson knew the importance of that rivalry game.
“It’s a big rival for everyone.You know you are going to get an awesome crowd when you get a team that is talented like that.” Williamson said. “It is an important game and they know it. There is a lot of tension there. The thing that sticks out the most is that it is the biggest crowd of the season. There is going to be 12,000 to 13,000 people there screaming, so it is an awesome, awesome environment”