The gorillas scored a 20-7 road winner on Nov. 7 at the first away football game of the season at Spratt Memorial Stadium as Missouri Western football struggled with the stifling defensive performance from Pitt State.
“Our defense, and how they played in the general added a spark and added a confidence to our team that the defense was getting their offense stopped,” said head coach Brian Wright. “I think our confidence built throughout the game that we were going to win.”
On the first winning game for head coach Brian Wright, quarterback Mak Sexton, after 13 plays and 75 yards, launched a 20-yard touchdown pass to running back Drew Winn on the opening drive of the game. Placekicker Jaden Snyder added field goals of 41 and 23 yards to complete the gorilla scoring.
Down 10-0 at halftime, the lone Griffon touchdown resulted from a 90-yard kick-off return by Sam Webb to open the third quarter. During the next possession Sexton tossed a 17-yard scoring toss to wide receiver Jalen Martin to place the gorillas ahead by 10 points.
The Gorilla recorded a pair of drive stopping interceptions that were crucial for the game result along with a partially blocked punt that played an important role in field possession.
“I think our guys prepared well during the week and played assignment style football and got a couple turnovers which really helped us,” Wright said.
Linebacker Morgan Selemaea had an outstanding performance leading the team with seven tackles and a blocked punt. Safety Markel Roby and linebacker Jack Barkley registered interceptions and linebacker Alex Gaskill made three stops, including two tackles-for-loss.
“We had a lot of things we had to get better at from week one to week two and I thought our guys identified what those things were and worked on them so we could improve as football team,” Wright said.
The Griffons held the Gorillas to just 296 total yards but managed only 180 yards of offense with only 43 net rushing yards thanks to the solid game played by the Pitt State defense. MWSU was also flagged 17 times for 165 penalty yards.
“When our guys put themselves in certainly some good positions to catch the ball, penalties can really hurt you if you are the team being penalized,” Wright said.
Mak Sexton finished the game with 18 completed passes and 32 attempted for 141 total passing yards. Drew Winn carried the ball 13 times for a game high of 79 yards while running back Tyler Adkins added 23 carries for 50 yards. Jalen Martin was the receiving leader with one touchdown and 66 yards.
“Hard work paid off from all the things we have been through and all the work they put in when we all got back together this Summer and then in September,” Wright said. “It was a lot of fun to seem them celebrating after all their hard work.”
The Gorillas will travel to Nacogdoches, Texas, next Saturday on Nov. 14 to face FCS member Stephen F. Austin State University.