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Slade Nordic, sophomore in mechanical engineering technology, races down the field to score against Emporia State on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. Nordic lettered in the football program his first year playing. Lance Woodward

MIAA conference roundup

Football coaches and players from several universities travelled from to attend the 2019 MIAA Football Media Day on Wednesday, July 31 at the Kauffman Foundation Center in Kansas City. With the start of the football season just around the corner, coaches and players alike are gearing up for the season.  

With every new season, there are new players, new goals, new things to look forward to. The Football Media Day had a lineup of coaches and players ready to speak about the previous season and their goals going forward into the 2019 season.  

University of Central Oklahoma 

UCO was picked fourth and fifth in the MIAA preseason coaches media polls, respectively. UCO is the first opponent the Gorillas will face in the upcoming season, with the first match on Thursday, Sept. 5 in Edmond at 7 p.m. UCO finished 8-4 overall last season.  

Head coach Nick Bobeck told McWilliams that winning is “about being consistent.”  

“…We have not hit consistency yet but… we believe that where you find consistency is you keep the main thing the main thing,” Bobeck said. “Make sure that we’re getting kids graduated, make sure that we’re investing in them as young men. Are they better husbands, are they better fathers, are they better employees for being in our program? If you keep the main thing the main thing, the wins are going to take care of themselves…” 

Emporia State University 

ESU was picked sixth in both the coaches’ and media polls. The Gorillas play ESU in a home game on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. Last year, ESU went 8-4 overall. They won the Corsicana Bowl against the University of Arkansas at Monticello (30-32).  

Head coach Garin Higgins sat down with McWilliams at the Football Media Day.  

“… Our players understand there’s a standard and they want to work to surpass it..,” Higgins said. 

Northeastern State University 

NSU was picked 11th in both the coaches’ and media polls. The Gorillas play NSU in a home game on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. Last season, NSU went 0-11 overall.  

University of Nebraska-Kearney 

UNK was picked ninth in both the coaches’ and media polls. The Gorillas play Nebraska-Kearney on Saturday, Sept. 28 in Kearney, Nebraska. UNK went 5-6 overall last season.  

Lincoln University of Missouri 

Lincoln was picked 12th in both the coaches’ and media polls. The Gorillas play Lincoln in a home match on Saturday, Oct. 5. This is also the Hall of Fame game. LU went 3-8 overall last season.  

Northwest Missouri State University 

NWMSU was picked second in the coaches’ polls and first in the media polls. The Gorillas play NWMSU on Saturday, Oct. 12 in Kansas City. Last season, NWMSU went 10-3 overall.  

Fort Hays State University 

FHSU enters this season ranked first in the coaches’ poll and second in the media poll.  

Last year, the Tigers made it to the 2018 NCAA Division II Playoffs but lost the game to the University of Indianapolis (27-38). The went 9-3 overall. The Gorillas play FHSU on Saturday, Oct. 19.  

At the Football Media Day, head football coach Chris Brown said he believes the team has put in a lot of effort over the summer.  

“I think they’ve got their minds in the right place,” Brown said. “They’re committed, they’re working hard, they’re doing everything we ask them to do. I mean this group of young men that we have right now has done more work this summer than I’ve ever seen… They do have that taste of they want to go win a national championship and they (want to) make a run in the playoffs and the only way they’re (going to) do that is by working and they’ve worked.”  

University of Central Missouri 

UCM was picked fifth in the coaches’ poll and fourth in the media poll. The Gorillas play UCM in Warrensburg on Saturday, Oct. 26. Last season, UCM finished 5-6 overall.  

UCM quarterback Brook Bolles was injured in the first match last season and had to sit out the rest of the season. This year, Bolles is back and sat down with Joey McWilliams at the 2019 MIAA Football Media Day and spoke about the new players on the UCM football team.  

“…Last year, I didn’t think I was gonna get hurt so I didn’t think that I’d probably hang out with them (the younger players) a lot,” Bolles said. “So, this extra year kind of gave me that time to get to know those guys and meet some of them. We’ve got some very interesting, fun younger guys that are stepping up that are gonna do a really good job this year.”  

Missouri Western State University 

MWSU was picked seventh in the coaches’ and media polls. The Gorillas play MWSU in a home game on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 1 p.m. MWSU went 7-5 overall last season.  

Washburn University 

Washburn was picked eighth in the coaches’ and media polls. The Gorillas play Washburn on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 1 p.m. in Topeka. The Ichabods finished 5-6 last season.  

Missouri Southern State University 

MSSU was picked 10th in both the coaches’ and media polls. The Gorillas have a home game with MSSU on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. MSSU finished 1-10 overall.  

After those matches is the NCAA Division-II Playoffs. The first round is on Saturday, Nov. 23. Round two is on Saturday, Nov. 30. The Quarterfinals is on Saturday, Dec. 7. The semifinals are on Saturday, Dec. 14. The National Championships are on Saturday, Dec. 21. 

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