Rich Wright sat in his office Monday and heard the Bearcat marching band practicing for game day.
“I’m like, ‘Yeah, this is what college football is all about,’” Northwest head coach Rich Wright said.
For the first time since Nov. 2019, No. 2 Northwest Missouri State (2-0) returns to Bearcat Stadium for their home opener against Central Oklahoma (1-2). For Wright, it’s a welcomed return to the norm in Maryville.
“The game day atmosphere here is different and I’ve been a lot of places it’s truly unique in the sense that to the people in this region, we are the big show in town. We are Nebraska. We are Iowa,” Wright said. “So t’s just fun to be a part of all that and to get to share our football program with the community.”
The Bearcats are coming off a 47-7 rout of Central Missouri in Week 3, while the Bronchos have lost their last two contests after taking down Missouri Western in Week 1. Northwest’s home game in Week 2 against Lincoln was canceled due to COVID-19 issues with the Blue Tigers.
The Bearcats look for their second straight win against Central Oklahoma behind the nation’s sixth-best scoring defense. Northwest sophomore quarterback Mike Hohensee returns under center after making his first collegiate start versus the Mules.
As the Bearcats gear up to host the Bronchos, Northwest senior wide receiver Alec Tatum said their game plan involves preparing for the Bronchos’ man coverage defense.
“They don’t really give away their blitzes a whole lot,” Tatum said. “They’ll disguise that stuff well, so we just got to be ready for things like that.”
Wright added, “They’ve got good athletes, always do. You know, they took a tough loss last week, and they’re gonna look to rebound from that. Obviously, based upon Week 1, you can see that they’re dangerous in beating the Griffons.”
The programs have split the last two meetings. Central Oklahoma beat Northwest in Edmond, Oklahoma, in 2018, then the Bearcats secured a 59-10 victory over the Bronchos on Family Weekend in 2019.
Two years later, Saturday’s game is a part of Northwest’s Family Weekend festivities.
In honor of late head coach Scott Bostwick, fans are encouraged to wear red hats and black shirts along with the team’s black jerseys, a tradition the Bearcats have honored since his passing in 2011.
“After Scott passed, he had purchased black jerseys for the kids, but didn’t tell the team, and so we made the decision to go ahead with that purchase in the spring, and he passed away in June,” Wright said. “That was kind of his last gift to our football team.”
Kickoff between Northwest and Central Oklahoma is set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Bearcat Stadium.