SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Rivalries are a fickle thing. On one hand, you’d rather anyone win other than your rival, but on the other, there’s an appreciation for the battles you’ve fought against one another.
“It’s a huge game,” said Morningside senior linebacker Tyler Wingert. “Playing Northwestern is always a really fun time. Just being a senior, being able to play them to go to the national championship game, if we win it’s a huge accomplishment.”
“I love those rivalry games, especially with Morningside,” said Northwestern senior wide receiver Cade Moser. “The games that we’ve had over the years, I mean, they’ve been incredible. It’s always a fun atmosphere.”
After seven straight losses to the mustangs, northwestern got the one that counted this spring, as Tyson Kooima’s throw to Michael Storey with 16 seconds left ended Morningside’s three-peat aspirations, leaving both sides with new emotions.
“I think just having that confidence that we can do that, and we can come back from a deficit and win really helps us, said Kooima.”
“It’s a horrible feeling, and I really don’t want to remember it, and hopefully I don’t have to feel it again,” laughed Morningside senior defensive lineman Zack Keller.
Just over six months after that semifinal, the two programs met again for their regular season matchup, and the defacto GPAC championship game. Only this time, as Northwestern looked for a late score, it was Morningside who made the play to get the win. And now again, in the national semifinals, these two are set to lock horns one more time for what might be the biggest game in their history.
“It definitely is a bigger one, it seems,” said Keller. “They’ve proved themselves last year, so this one is like ‘who’s the guy in the area? Who’s the top dog in the area?’ So it’s definitely a special game, that’s for sure.”
“It comes down to dominating the details,” said Kooima. “You know if we have a slip up every now and again Morningside is going to capitalize off of that. So if we can, every drive, just sustain them, maybe get a few stops or turnovers, that’s really going to help us out.”
#4 Northwestern takes on #2 Morningside on Saturday, December 4 at noon at Elwood Olsen Stadium for a spot in the NAIA national championship game on December 18 in Durham, North Carolina.