Quarterback scramble

Quarterback Brady Bolles makes a move upfield against Central Missouri in 2014. 

Editor’s Note: Week 3 of the Bearcats’ 2020 schedule would have been Saturday with a game against Central Missouri. In a continuation of The Forum’s series going through the best games all-time against what would have been the 2020 schedule, we go back to 2013 and Northwest’s 28-24 win over Central Missouri.

Central Missouri was prepared for the Trevor Adams-led Northwest Missouri State Bearcats on Sept. 14, 2013.

After all, Adams was a three-year starter for the Bearcats and the week before had thrown for 285 yards in a win over Saginaw Valley State. Why would the Bearcats make the move to sophomore Brady Bolles?

“I was very, very fortunate and blessed to get in and have a part in that game and that season,” Bolles said.

After an interception, a pair of 3-and-outs and 17-0 first-quarter deficit, head coach Adam Dorrel inserted Bolles into the game. On his first play, Bolles ran for 17 yards and he capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.

“A big part of it was that Central had game planned for our offense Week 1 with Trevor dropping back and throwing the ball a little bit,” Bolles said. “They were ready, they had a great game plan coming in. No one had really seen our quarterback run stuff that year quite yet.

“We were able to get an extra blocker in there and an extra hat on a head in there and it opened some things up for us.”

A Bolles 20-yard touchdown pass to Korey Jackson brought the Bearcats within 17-14 with 1:09 left before halftime.

Jacob Vollestedt blocked a third-quarter and Dylan Chadwick ran it back for 25 yards and a touchdown for 21-17 lead. The Mules came back and retook the lead in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter with a touchdown.

Bolles led the game-winning drive and rushed for his second score of the game with 2:51 left and gave the Bearcats back the lead at 28-24.

Brandon Yost intercepted a Mule pass and then Bolles rushed for a first down to seal the game.

“It just made us a little bit more of a dangerous football team moving forward,” Bolles said of the comeback. “It boosted our confidence level that much higher.”

Bolles led the team in both rushing and passing with 191 yards passing and 82 yards rushing.

Despite Bolles’ big game, it wasn’t a complete passing of the torch yet.

Adams went on to an All-American season and the Bearcats won the national title behind a 277-yard and three touchdown passing day. Bolles was still a critical part to the run as well with 55 rushing yards in the title game.

“It was awesome,” Bolles said of the two-quarterback system. “No. 1: just to be able to work side-by-side with someone who is so team oriented like Trevor was — and how much that rubs off on yourself. It was cool to be able to have a part on that team because I believe that is one of the most selfless teams that I played on.

“We just cared so much about each other and didn’t really care about the individual awards and accolades. We all had one team goal and worked well to achieve it.”

Bolles would take over full-time quarterback duties the following year and go on to lead the Bearcats to a national title in 2015.

Bolles wasn’t only compared to Adams during his Bearcat career, but he was compared to his older brother and fellow Bearcat national championship quarterback Blake Bolles.

“I knew coming in that people were always going to make comparisons and things of that nature,” Brady said. “My mindset going in was just that I was going to pave my own way, however that was and whatever that was going to be.

“I was just going to keep my head down, not look at the things that he did, not worry about what he was doing when he was here, but kind of do my own thing.”

Brady would end up breaking Blake’s total offense record at Northwest with 9,296 yards — just 42 more than Blake.

Northwest and Central Missouri were the two finalists for Brady in the recruitment process with former Bearcats Jim Svoboda and Josh Lamberson coaching at Central and a desire to avoid comparisons to his older brother.

“I had been to Maryville multiple times, I had watched my brother and seen the success that he had, but at the same time, I kind of wanted to do my own thing and spread my wings,” Brady said. “But Coach Bostwick called me back and was wondering why I hadn’t made my decision yet. He told me whatever he needed to do to get me to come there, he was willing to do it.

“That extra phone call that he made really made me feel like they weren’t just recruiting me because I was Blake’s brother, but they were recruiting me because I was a good football player, and they wanted me there. That was kind of the sealing deal for me, and the rest is history.”

The youngest Bolles brother, Brook, ended up making that decision to go to Central Missouri, where he was a Harlon Hill finalist. Brady says that made for some conflicting feelings on Saturdays.

“It was a tough couple of years there for me when I was done playing and my brother was at UCM,” Brady said. “Nothing compares to rooting for your brother.”

After Brook graduated in Warrensburg, his brother was able to fully embrace the green and white again.

“I’ll always be a Bearcat,” Brady said. “The saying is ‘Once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat,’ and it is the truest statement out there.”