(Maryville) -- Fremont-Mills alum and current Northwest Missouri State senior defensive lineman Spencer Phillips is getting set for a big matchup in Maryville this weekend.
The No. 12 Bearcats (9-1) will host No. 9 Central Missouri (10-0) Saturday at 1:30 p.m. with a share of the MIAA title on the line. Northwest is coming off of a 36-33 double-overtime win at Fort Hays State last week to keep its postseason hopes alive. The Bearcats trailed 17-0 in the first quarter before mounting the comeback.
"For us, it was just trying to do our jobs again," said Phillips. "We gave up a turnover on offense early in the first quarter, which set them up better than we'd like. For us, it was just trying to get back to the things that we do -- stopping the run and providing help for our secondary. That helped us flip it around. All of Fort Hays' skill players are all outstanding players."
Phillips was named the MIAA Defensive Player of the Week with a performance that included four tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack and safety. Moving forward, Phillips says the focus has been on improving themselves heading into the UCM matchup.
"Like all year, we are focusing on ourselves," said Phillips. "Central Missouri has got a lot of great skill guys and we are just trying to find matchups where we succeed and try to do as best we can there to help us on the other areas. That's what it's going to boil down to, is how well we can perform when we have the advantage over the other team."
A win for Northwest would mean a share of the conference crown and keep its playoff hopes alive. Regardless of the outcome, it's likely the last time Phillips will play a home game in a Bearcat uniform. The four-year contributor and two-year starter says the game Saturday will be special.
"Of course it's got a special meaning," said Phillips. "It might be our last time playing at Bearcat Stadium. I've got a lot of friends and family coming down for the game. It's exciting to see everybody and try to play well in front of them all. Then again, once the kickoff comes, it's time to do your job. You kind of get back into game mode and a do-your-job mentality."
You can hear the game Saturday between Northwest and Central Missouri on KMA 960 with pregame at 12:30 p.m. Phillips was a recent guest on Upon Further Review. You can hear the full interview below.