Western-Northwest Rivalry Special for Partridge

By Matt Tritten | mtritten@kq2.com

Published 11/12 2013 11:43PM

Updated 11/13 2013 12:37AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) One of the best rivalries in Division II Football is renewed Saturday when No. 19 Missouri Western hosts No. 2 Northwest. A win for the Bearcats gives them the MIAA Title outright, but things haven't come easy for the green and white against the Griffons and their senior quarterback.

A victory in Maryville in 2012 locked up Missouri Western's first outright conference title, a moment cherished by Travis Partridge -- a player that's spent his whole life around the Griffon program.

"It means a lot to my family, it means a lot to this program, and it means a lot to them too," Travis said. "I can think of a few games in my career that are really big, and mean a lot to me. And both of those Northwest wins mean a lot to me."

Partridge is already making a dent in the Griffon record books. He broke the career rushing touchdowns mark last week against Washburn, but he's also impacting the win column.

Since the rivalry between Northwest and Missouri Western began in 1981, Partridge is the only Griff starting quarterback to beat the Bearcats twice -- the first coming in a 31-28 decision as a sophomore in 2011.

"I've been around this program a long time. I've had teammates that I've played with, I've coached as an assistant, I've coached as a head coach for a lot of years, to have his name amongst those guys is pretty special," Western head coach -- and Travis' dad -- Jerry Partridge said.

Missouri Western's hopes at a fourth straight playoff appearance lie squarely on the younger Partridge's shoulders this Saturday. The Griffons are eighth in the Super Region 3 rankings, two spots out of the playoffs. To make a strong case for a postseason berth, Western must do what no MIAA team has done in over a decade: beat the Bearcats three years in a row.

"Obviously last year had the MIAA Championship riding on it. This year it does not," Travis said. "But it's still just as monumental to us and monumental to them as well."

So with one more chapter remaining in the rivalry for Western's senior quarterback, Partridge can cement his place in Griffon lore Saturday.

"Being a fifth year senior, I think about legacy and I think about 'Hey, what have you done for the program?' The Northwest wins mean a lot. It's going to mean a lot for them and it feels good to carry that tradition on."

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