Gorillas overcome in Fall Classic
Garett McCullough | Sports Editor
Two sets of arms pointed straight up along with the definitive words, “It’s good.”
That sign signaled the end of what had become the greatest winning streak in MIAA history. The Northwest Missouri State Bearcats were going for their 50 conference win in a row, before Chase McCoy booted the 26-yard game winner for Pitt State last Saturday in the annual Fall Classic as the Gorillas walked away with a 38-35 victory.
This also ended the Bearcats’ stranglehold of the conference and of Pitt State, which had lost seven straight games to Northwest, while catapulting the Gorillas to a new level as a team.
The Bearcats started the game in familiar fashion, running up 21 points in the first quarter and finishing the half with a score of 28-6 in their favor. The Pitt State players never lost their nerve, though, and came out of the locker room after the half still clearly believing they could win.
“We didn’t have any doubt in our minds,” said quarterback Zac Dickey. “We go into every game expecting to win. That’s what we play for: competition.”
The Gorillas controlled the entire second half, both offensively and defensively, just as they are now in control of their own destiny. Northwest has been so dominant in the past years, Gorilla fans would be hard-pressed to find a student who was around during the last Pitt State win. Murmurs rumble over the parking lot each year about how impossible the Fall Classic is to win. That was until last year when hope was given as the Gorillas nearly stole a victory from the Bearcats, falling just short, 22-16.
“It began to seem like the usual to see Pitt lose this game, but last year’s game was insane and now I am really excited for playoffs,” physical education major Kyle Rush said. “I have been here six years and this is the best win I have seen.”
The victory was well-deserved, Northwest’s coach Adam Dorrel said.
“I want to give a lot of credit to Pitt State, they played hard,” Dorrel said. “I just tip my hat to those guys, they did a good job. It’s a good football program and that’s a good team we played today.”
This was also a big milestone in Pitt State football history. For the first time ever, the Gorillas defeated a team ranked No. 1 in the D-II polls. The ecstasy ran high for fans, but also for the players.
“It’s a great feel when you come in here with your head set on beating them,” safety Jason Peete said. “When it actually happens, it’s just an amazing feeling.”
The Gorillas have one “big step” left in front of them. The Washburn Ichabods are also undefeated on the season, but have yet to play Northwest, who they play two weeks before coming to Pittsburg on Nov. 5. The now ranked-eighth Gorillas will need to get past the fifth-ranked Ichabods to get to that next level and be in top form going into the playoffs.