Victory behind them, Gorillas advance
Garett Mccullough | Sports Editor
History did not repeat itself this past weekend as the Washburn Ichabods fell to the Pittsburg State Gorillas 31-22.
A different Gorilla squad lined up before running onto the field last Saturday. The usually boisterous Gorillas were calm, too calm for coach Tim Beck. The concerned Beck asked his senior quarterback if the team was all right.
“He said, ‘Yeah, coach. After our team meeting last night … just trust me, we’re ready to go.’ And he was exactly right.”
Beck did just that, but throughout first quarter it seemed that the locker room tranquility was, in fact, nerves. Their first drive ended in a three-and-out and the Gorillas were forced to punt. The snap was high, however, and went out of the end zone for a safety. Washburn took the free kick and promptly marched down the field for a touchdown, using a balanced offense to gash the Pitt defense.
The second quarter began and the serene pregame scene turned into a violent storm of domination on both sides of the ball. Dickey seemed to know this was coming before the game began.
“I felt very good going into the game, knowing that we were set on it not being our last game,” Dickey said.
The Gorillas made the next five offensive scores, while Bryce Atagi slipped in an interception return touchdown for the Ichabods in the second quarter. Mandel Dixon was the surprise of the game, scoring two touchdowns, both from 1-yard out. This part of the game plan was devised to complement the edge rushing that was used near the goal line for most of the season.
The Pitt offense seemed to be unstoppable once the second quarter began, but the defense decided who would be the victor. Two Washburn drives in particular had the Ichabods inside Pitt’s 30 and both times the defense held them scoreless.
The first stand came after a Devon Conners interception-return put Washburn on Pitt’s 28-yard line. The Ichabods gained only four yards on the first three plays and turned the ball over on downs as Spencer Worthington rushed Dane Simoneau and forced an errant throw.
On Washburn’s next drive, Simoneau connected with Tore’ Hurst for 28 yards down to the Pitt 1-yard line. Justin Cooper ran the ball for negative two yards on the next two plays. Washburn faced another fourth down, trailing 24-16. Simoneau’s number was called on a right bootleg, but his pass fell just shy of Matt Kobbeman, who was well covered by Elijah Olabode.
“Our defense played with some phenomenal intensity,” Beck said. “The goal line stand down there was awesome, just an outstanding goal line stand. Our overall focus and intensity today was absolutely excellent.”
Pitt State will look to repeat its defensive effort when it faces Northwest Missouri State this Saturday. Pitt won the first meeting 38-35 on a last second field goal.
|Students cheer on the Gorilla football team to a victory on Saturday, Nov. 26, in Carnie Smith Stadium.|