"I think there's a mentality that you have to have in the postseason to be successful," Bearcat head coach Adam Dorrel said. "I think some people have it figured out, and others don't."
It's safe to say that Grand Valley and Northwest have figured it out.
The Lakers and Bearcats have combine for 13 national championship appearances since 1998.
"I think it says a lot about both our programs and the consistency of it, coaching staffs and universities and their commitment to the programs," Dorrel said.
Three of the meetings between the teams in the last decade were for the title with each game providing fireworks -- from a dropped go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter by E.J. Falkner in 2005, to Jake Soy's fourth down touchdown reception in 2009 that put Northwest on top for good.
To go along with all of the national championship games the Bearcats have played the Lakers in, they also met in the 2007 national semifinal in Maryville. A game that Northwest capped off with its own signature moment -- a record-setting 98-yard touchdown run by Xavier Omon that opened up a 34-16 lead.
"Once he kind of broke free, we knew he had a good chance he was going to go the distance," Northwest offensive coordinator Charlie Flohr said. "I just remember Xavier's eyes looking straight up at a scoreboard, and he was able to find Brandon Carr from behind him, kind of using it as rear view mirror. He was kind of zig-zagging his way through to that 98-yard run."
"It's kind of a cliche, people always talk about the zone. He was in the zone that day. It was very apparent," Dorrel said looking back on the run.
Another record-setting play may not be in the mix for this weekend's edition of Grand Valley vs. Northwest, but both teams are settling in for a heavyweight bout.
"It's going to be a great matchup," Flohr said. "Our kids are really excited, our staff's really excited to go up against another quality opponent, and we'll see how things work out."