Gorillas foil Bearcats’ revenge game
Garett McCullough | Sports Editor
The Northwest Missouri State Bearcats looked strong early in last Saturday’s game, but Pitt State came out on top, 41-16.
James Franklin’s 20-yard touchdown and a Todd Adolf 22-yard field goal gave the Bearcats a 10-0 lead in a visibly dominant first quarter against the Gorillas. Between its three main backs, including quarterback Trevor Adams, the Bearcats rushed for 125 yards and a TD in the first quarter. The Gorillas’ run defense stiffened after that, allowing only 20 yards rushing for the rest of the game.
Pitt State’s offense and defense fed off each other’s success for the next three quarters. The defense didn’t allow another score until the fourth, while the offense proved too explosive for Northwest. Sophomore John Brown once again sliced up the Bearcat secondary.
“John Brown, wow! What an exciting young man,” said Northwest’s head coach Adam Dorrel. “I wish he was a senior. He’s a good football player.”
Brown tallied 174 yards on six catches and scored three touchdowns. The man tossing those passes also made huge contributions for PSU. Senior quarterback Zac Dickey exploded for 266 passing yards, three TDs and no interceptions. Dickey hit Brown for a 78-yard TD in the third quarter, which ignited the pair. They connected for a 48-yard TD later in the quarter and hooked up again in the fourth for a 15-yard TD.
Dickey also led the team in rushing with 147 yards on 20 carries. Mandel Dixon found the end zone twice despite carrying the ball only three times for three yards. Jason Spradling was the most productive running back, gaining 77 yards on 16 carries.
Sophomore Nate Dreiling, Jason Peete and Gus Toca led the defense with eight tackles. Dreiling also picked off an Adams pass while senior Elijah Olabode, reeled in an INT of his own.
“We missed a couple gap assignments,” Dreiling said. “That’s what it came down to, but the coaches did a pretty good job of making halftime adjustments. Any time you can hold an offense like that to 300 yards (297 yards), you’ve done something right.”
Pitt seemed in control for the majority of this game and never loosened its grip as it moved on to the semifinals. Delta State won over North Greenville 28-23 and will face PSU in the Jungle on Saturday. Delta State began the season ranked No. 2 in the country and was the runner-up in last year’s national championship while Pitt State has had to fight its way to the top.
“We were picked fifth in the conference and now we’re sitting in the top four in the nation,” Dickey said. “We didn’t expect to be picked higher, but that really lights a fire under us and we worked hard since last December to get things right.”
Pitt State has used being underrated to its advantage since game one when it handily defeated a Missouri Western team that made the playoffs. This advantage has since diminished.