FLORENCE, Ala. -- Trevor Adams wanted this honor, not just for himself, but for his team.
For his "Family."
Individually, Adams had already collected a pile of awards for his play on the field this year. With a slew of academic honors also to his credit, this is a kid who has it together in the classroom, as well. They’re all his, though, his trophies to sit on a shelf somewhere.All that remained Saturday was a NCAA Division II national championship.
Adams threw for 277 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions in helping lead Northwest Missouri State to a 43-28 victory against Lenoir-Rhyne. The title is the school’s fourth in eight trips to the DII finale.
In amassing an unofficial total of 3,065 yards passing this year, Adams’ feat is the ninth time a Bearcat signal caller has surpassed the 3,000-yard mark in a single season. Northwest Missouri State averaged an astonishing 45.3 points per game in 2013.
The Bearcats finished the season with an 15-0 record, and they’re in good company. The school is located in Maryville, Mo., and every single football team from the town’s school system -- from middle school to freshmen to high school -- also went undefeated.
“It’s just unbelievable,” Adams said after the game. “The rest of the teams know how hard all of our guys and coaches have worked since back in January when we started out on this thing together. For me, I just have to give all the glory to God. I just want to give Him all the praise for this opportunity.
“It’s cool to win the individual awards for academics. I’m very grateful for that, but to be able to win this team award with all these brothers and guys who have developed us as men since I got here as a freshman, it’s really incredible.”
Every single player had a word over the number on the backs of their uniform jerseys, but it had nothing to do with an individual identity. The word instead described the kind of bond they shared within the team, with their school and with the community of Maryville.
One jersey after another.
This was for Adams, for his teammates, for head coach Adam Dorrel, for the university, for Maryville and for Scott Bostwick.
A longtime assistant, Bostwick was named the team’s head coach in December 2010. But before he could take to the sidelines for his first game at the helm, Bostwick died of a heart attack on June 5, 2011.
“[Family] has been our breakdown, our slogan, the way we finish every game, every practice,” Dorrel said. “Northwest Missouri State football has always been a very tightknit community. I felt really good about our kids in the spring. We just seemed to be a little bit tighter as a family, more connected, very unselfish. That just became our mantra as the season moved on.”
Adams led all Division II quarterbacks in pass completion percentage and had thrown for a career-high 2,788 yards and 27 touchdowns coming into Saturday’s game. That was more than enough to see him named to the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association all-conference first team and its offensive player of the year.
A native of Odessa, Texas, Adams is the 2013 Captial One All-America Athlete of the Year, a three-time member of the Academic All-America team and the National Football Foundation honored him in New York City recently as one of its Scholar-Athletes.
After graduating Nov. 13, Adams plans to attend Parker University beginning in January to continue his chiropractic studies.
“I have to give praise to God for the opportunities that He’s given me in college and for the work ethic my parents instilled in me at a young age,” Adams said. “I’ve been so fortunate and blessed to play for coaches that care about our off-the-field success. They don’t want us to just be good on the football field and nothing else matter.
“AD [Dorrel] and our coaches here tell us if you’re doing well in the classroom, there’s a really good chance you’re going to be doing well on the field, too. That means you’re taking care of the things you need to. So I’ve had great role models to look up to, great men just to kind of instill a work ethic and drive into me.”
Dorrel is a fan. After the career Adams enjoyed at Northwest Missouri State in general, and the game he played Saturday in particular, how could Dorrel not be?
“He’s the epitome of a student-athlete,” Dorrel said. “We’re very proud of him and everything he’s accomplished here at Northwest Missouri State on and off the field. He’s just got a great character.“He’s our team leader. He’s our spiritual leader. Everything we do kind of revolves around him, because he puts in position to be successful. He’s very respected by his teammates and his coaches.”
What Adams was able to do this year was truly special, according to Dorrel.
“He’s always been a good player here, but in our mind, he’s really taken that next step this year because of his ability to prepare before he goes into a game,” Dorrel continued. “Video study, his knowledge of our offense, he’s kind of mastered that and feeling very comfortable right now.”
After Saturday, Adams should be feeling really, really comfortable.