Countdown to Kickoff: Wichita Northwest

The Wichita Northwest Grizzles are looking to rebound after losing in state quarterfinal round last fall.
Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 10:07 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - For three years, 2018, 2019 and 2020, Northwest football made it to the 5A state championship game. This past year was a different story. Hoping to make the jump to winning the state title, the Grizzles instead fell backwards and got knocked out in the quarterfinal round.

Northwest head coach Steve Martin said, “Last year I think we got a little wakeup call, going off riding three straight state appearances, never losing a regular season game and I think we took that for granted. Coaches included.”

Martin said this year’s team has bounced back even stronger than he expected from last year’s season ending

“It’s what we’re riding off of, it’s just fuel going into the weight room every day, thinking about that,” said senior left tackle Jacob Lamb. “Coming out here thinking about that, It’s just something on the back of our mind always. Just something we’re going to keep thinking about until we’re back again.”

“Here’s what was so awesome, was that our guys, seniors and juniors have stepped up and risen to the challenge and we’ve had one of the best off-seasons probably since 2016 when we really got this program in the right direction,” said Martin.

“Our preparation this year is the best I’ve seen since being here. We’re taking it very serious after our last season when we got a lot of players hurt in that final game,” said junior nose guard Bernard Birch. “Only 80 players so they’re really determined for that spot.”

A fresh new quarterback at the helm this year in Jayce Glasper but with four returning linemen, three wide receivers back and two D-1 caliber running backs in Thompson and Phillips, coach Martin has confidence he can distribute the ball effectively.

“I think right now we’ve just got to plug and play in some linebackers on defense and really the whole defense is back except for two linebackers. So, we’re excited for this year, we just have to stay injury free,” said Martin.

Northwest opens the season on September 2nd down the street at Bishop Carroll.