Northwest football coach Rich Wright brought a message of heritage and remembrance to his players ahead of a Week 3 matchup with Missouri Southern.
The message stemmed from the memories Wright holds on to from former coach and athletic director Mel Tjeerdsma and late coach Scott Bostwick. There is no better time for this reminder of the men who helped build the program to where it is today, as Sept. 15 will mark the pivotal day in Family Weekend.
In order to maintain the history of the program, Wright plans to have speakers throughout the week who will communicate to the players just how much their football heritage means to the program.
“We have four different people from the community that are going to come in and talk after practice about what Scott (Bostwick) meant to them,” Wright said.
Despite never playing for or even knowing theses influential faces of the Bearcat program, players like senior defensive end Austen Eskew recognize their importance.
“You can just tell how important (Bostwick) was, not only as a coach, but also to this community and the great legacy they’ve built here at Northwest, him and coach Tjeerdsma,” Eskew said.
The legacy of Tjeerdsma will be honored at halftime of the game against the Lions for his induction in the College Football Hall of Fame. This will only add to the atmosphere that Family Weekend brings with it.
For the second straight season, the No. 4 Bearcats (2-0) will take on the Lions (0-2) for Family Weekend. Last year’s matchup went smoothly for Northwest, resulting in a 63-0 win, producing nearly 10 times the total yards as the Lions (651-69).
Even with the ease of the previous matchup, Wright knows that any team in the MIAA is dangerous every week.
“When you are in the MIAA, you get everybody’s best shot,” Wright said. “I don’t care if it is a team that is struggling or if its a team that’s undefeated. Everybody comes to Maryville, Missouri, because you can literally make a team’s season winning here.”
The philosophy for Eskew and the rest of the Bearcats is to focus on what they can control, no matter who the opponent is. Eskew said he is looking for fluidity throughout the entire team in this week's game.
“I feel like the expectation here at Northwest is when you play teams that are struggling; it's just another game,” Eskew said. “You have to play great, you are expected to play great and I feel like as a defensive unit and offensive unit, we just want to put together a more complete game.”
Expectations like the ones Eskew talked about at Northwest are what have kept the Bearcats from having down games against struggling opponents in the past. With the ineffective play from the Lions recently, the chance to maintain that tradition is well within reach.