The Fort Hays State football team remained No. 7 in the NCAA Division II Super Region 3 rankings ahead of Saturday's pivotal game at Northwest Missouri. 

Northwest stayed in the No. 4 spot in the region rankings while Pittsburg State moved up a spot to No. 8. The top seven teams in the region rankings at the end of the regular season will advance to the playoffs. 

Saturday's Fort Hays-Northwest game figures to decide the MIAA champion. Northwest (8-1) can clinch at least a share of the title with a win, while the Tigers (7-2) would move into a tie for first place by beating the Bearcats. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. in Maryville, Mo. 

Fort Hays remained in the running for a second straight conference title with a 27-14 win at home against Lindenwood on Saturday while Northwest slammed Northeastern State, 62-17. Pitt State is tied with the Tigers for second place at 7-2. 

Ferris State (9-0) remained at the top of the region rankings. Ouachita Baptist (9-0) was second followed by Grand Valley State (8-1) in third. The University of Indianapolis (7-1) rounded out the top five. Harding (7-2) sits ninth while Missouri S&T (7-1) is 10th. 


Northwest Missouri remained the only MIAA team represented in the American Football Coaches Association Division II poll, moving up one spot to No. 10. 

Fort Hays, Pittsburg State and Central Oklahoma received votes. 

Players of the week

Emporia State dominated the MIAA football weekly awards after notching a 34-31 overtime victory at rival Washburn on Saturday. 

ESU's Braxton Marstall was offensive player of the week, Jace McDown was defensive player of the week and Justin Brown earned the honor on special teams, sharing the honor with Northwest Missouri kicker Parker Sampson. 

McDown had a career-high 14 tackles and forced two fumbles in the Washburn win. He had a key tackle on second-and-goal from the 2-yard line in overtime that helped force the Ichabods into a field goal. 

Marstall, ESU's senior quarterback, threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns, adding two touchdowns on the ground. Marstall found  Brown for the game-winning score on the second play for ESU in overtime. He became the Hornets all-time leader in passing yards during the game with 8,981 yards in his career.

Brown blocked WU's potential game-winning 27-yard field goal at the end of the regulation to send the game into overtime. 

Sampson made a career-long 50-yard field goal and also added a 32-yarder while converting eight extra points against Northeastern State. 

Week ahead

Pittsburg State will look to stay in the conference title hunt when the Gorillas face Washburn (4-5) at 2 p.m. Saturday in Pittsburg. Pitt is coming off a 34-14 win at Missouri Western. 

Other matchups include Central Missouri (4-5) at Lindenwood (3-6), Missouri Southern (1-8) at Emporia State (5-4), Central Oklahoma (6-3) at Northeastern State (0-9) and Missouri Western (5-4) at Nebraska-Kearney (4-5).