Nov 15, 2021 3:49 PM

Northwest draws No. 3 seed in playoffs, will host Central Washington Saturday

Posted Nov 15, 2021 3:49 PM
Stock photo.
Stock photo.

By TOMMY REZAC

St. Joseph Post

For the 17th straight season, the Northwest Missouri State football team has secured an NCAA Division II playoff bid.

Northwest (9-1) is the No. 3 seed in Super Region Three and earned a home playoff game. against Central Washington (8-2) this Saturday. Kickoff is set for noon at Bearcat Stadium.

"It's very exciting," Northwest senior and linebacker Sam Roberts said about the prospect of playoffs. "We've put in a lot of hard work over the years and to see it come to fruition at this moment in time is just amazing. With COVID and stuff, we just had extra motivation to play this season and we're just using that, and we're going to do the thing and run it up."

The Bearcats captured the program's 31st MIAA regular season title with a 35-7 win over Emporia State on Saturday. It marks Northwest's 21st outright MIAA title and the first one since 2016 - the last time that Northwest won a national title as well.

"They sacrificed a lot," Northwest head coach Rich Wright said after Saturday's game. "For them to get an opportunity to win the conference, it makes all of those days in the weight room and running sprints worth it."

Northwest and Central Washington met once previously in the 2009 playoffs. Northwest pulled out a 21-20 victory in the quarterfinals in Ellensburg, WA.

Bearcat senior Tyler Roach blocked an extra point with six seconds left in the game to preserve Northwest's one-point victory. Northwest would go on to win the national championship that year as well.

The MIAA saw two other football teams receive a playoff berth. Nebraska-Kearney (9-2) is at No. 3 seed Western Colorado (10-1) on Saturday at 2 p.m. central.

Washburn (9-2) is at No. 2 seed Harding (10-1) on Saturday at 1 p.m. central.