One of my first writing assignments for my college newspaper was covering the football team for which I played. It was the first of many football assignments I’ve had over the last 27 years.
On Saturday, I will return to one of my old haunts, covering an NCAA Division II playoff game between Northwest Missouri State and Minnesota-Duluth for The Kansas City Star. It works out well, given that Mel Tjeerdsma Field at Bearcat Stadium is a mere 20 blocks from my home.
Northwest is a Division II power, having won national titles in 1998, ’99 and 2009. In addition, the Bearcats have played in the championship game four other times, finishing runner-up from 2005-08 – yeah, they played for the title for five straight years.
Northwest is the No. 1 team in the region, having finished the regular season undefeated; it had a bye in the first round. Minnesota-Duluth won its playoff opener last week, upending Emporia (Kan.) State 55-13. Northwest won the MIAA title this season and beat Emporia State 48-21 on Nov. 9 in Emporia.
It should be an exciting game, and I look forward to covering what will be another championship-style event as I prepare to work the most exciting two weeks of my rodeo season starting next week in Las Vegas.