ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - The No. 6-ranked Northwest Missouri State University football team had a battle with Missouri Western State University Thursday night getting a 45-35 victory in the season opener for both schools.
Northwest's defense came up with the first score of the season when the Phillips brothers combined for fumble return for a touchdown. A bad snap shotgun snap sent the ball over Missouri Western quarterback Wyatt Steigerwald and Spencer Phillips scooped up the loose ball at the Griffon 43-yard line. Phillips would lateral the ball to his brother Sam before getting tackled. Sam Phillips would then take the ball the final 38 yards for the touchdown.
Missouri Western battled back from an early 14-0 deficit and take their first lead of the season, 35-31, with 12:38 remaining in the game. Northwest answered with an eight-play, 89-yard drive to pull back ahead 38-35.
The Bearcats with 4:00 left in the fourth quarter would have a short field and score on a four-yard pass from Braden Wright to Kyle Raunig. Raunig's score gave Northwest a 45-35 lead which would ultimately be the final score.
The Griffons travel to No. 11 Fort Hays State next week for a Thursday night game on Sept. 12. The Bearcats will host Washburn next Saturday at home for a 1:30 kick-off.