Every season is a new chance for aspiring teams around the nation to establish themselves as legitimate contenders. Northwest football prides itself on being legitimate contenders year in and year out, but it starts with the summer training program for the Bearcats.
The team began training for the season two weeks out of the 2019 spring semester, starting May 16 this offseason.
The summer schedule consisted of weekly practices and a daily lifting routine. Player-led practices began two weeks after classes were out; these practices included all of the returning players from the previous season.
Sophomore defensive tackle Zach Howard said he and his teammates all pride themselves on holding each other accountable to showing up to these player-led practices and lifting.
Practices, which are held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, are accompanied by daily workouts with strength and conditioning coach Joe Quinlin. Howard said his favorite part of the training is the pace everyone goes at and the intensity of the workout. Zach gave “Joe Q” a lot of credit on how much he makes the team work over the summer.
“Everytime us guys get into the weightroom, or out on the field, we know it’s time to lock in and go 100%,” Howard said.
As the offseason goes on the players have training camp later on in the summer, where most of their days are occupied with football throughout the day. They started training camp, which lasts for roughly three weeks, Aug. 9.
To begin their day, the players check in to the training facility at 7 a.m., then they are fed breakfast and have 30 minutes to digest the food to get ready for the day. The players start the day with position meetings and workouts. The offense and defense are then split up into separate groups, with one side of the ball going to meetings and the other side beginning workouts, which is just around an hour for each respective session.
They end the meetings and workouts in the weightroom around 11 a.m. and have a two hour break to rehabilitate.
After the break, more meetings take place around 2 p.m., these meetings are geared towards special teams: such as field goal, punt block, punt and kickoff teams. Each of those meetings are 10 minutes, together lasting about an hour total.
After those meetings are done, the players have roughly 15 minutes until practice starts. This time is taken up with another position meeting, up until the time practice starts.
“Training camp has been a grind,” freshman tight end Jacob Harmdierks said. “... It was definitely overwhelming at first, but I’ve learned a lot in the short time of being here, and we’ve all been getting better each and everyday.”
Before practice can officially start, the players must all report to the field at 3:30 p.m. to get stretched and warmed up. Practice consists of running through plays, getting down techniques and players improving their stamina before the season starts. They wrap up practice around 5:45 p.m., where they break down the huddle and have a team dinner following practice.
Zach Howard said this year's team is hungry and focused already, he said everyone on the team has their heads straight. The team’s slogan this year is, “Whatever it takes.”
“We've had a lot of success in the past in getting to the National Championship,” Howard said. “Our mentality is to do whatever it takes this year to get back to what Northwest football is all about.”
The Bearcats, much like all of the other hopeful, hard-working teams across the nation, are still grinding everyday in preparation for the first official kick off this year. For Northwest, the season begins Sept. 5 against their close rivals: Missouri Western State University, on the Griffons' turf.