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Gorilla Football looks forward to upcoming season

Tucker Horak, senior running back, runs the ball during pre-season football practice. Pittstate Gorilla’s first home game is Sep. 11. Caleb Oswell

The Pittsburg State University Gorillas is looking to their successes last year and applying it for their upcoming season beginning on Sept. 2.

The Gorillas will return to the field on Sept. 2 where they will travel to Warrensburg, Mo. to take on Central Missouri at 7 p.m. Then, on Sept. 11, the Gorillas will take on the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers at home.

Last year’s season posed challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The season consisted of 4 games, only one home game for the Gorillas. The team averaged 23.75 points per game throughout the season.   They ended the season with a record of 2-2 with their largest loss coming from Stephen F Austin University with a score of 7-26 and their largest win coming at their last game against West Texas A&M where they won 42-28. The team averaged 4.5 yards rushing and 7.11 yards passing that season.

This year’s offense will be led by quarterbacks redshirt sophomore Mak Sexton, redshirt junior Matt Harman, and second-year freshman Chad Dodson Jr. The Gorillas will likely look to Mak Sexton as their starting quarterback as he threw for 1,009 yards last season and produced eight touchdowns throughout the four games he started for the gorillas.

“Our quarterbacks are highly competitive with a lot of talent,” said head coach Brian Wright. “Not only do I love coaching this group, I really enjoy just being around them,”

The team’s running offense will be led by senior running backs Tyler Adkins and Tucker Horak. Both players created larger numbers of offensive yards for the Gorillas and helped the team to have success during the 2020 season.

“This group is very versatile and can come at you a lot of different ways,” Wright said. “I’m excited to watch our veteran leaders in Tucker and Tyler lead our offense, while seeing a few new young guys step up with major contributions.”

No team relies on offense alone. For defense, the team has eight players return that started three or more games last season. The Gorilla defense is being led by All-America senior linebacker Morgan Selemaea. Selemaea made 30 tackles with one fumble recovery, one forced fumble, and one blocked kick in the 2020 season. 

“From a depth standpoint, our linebackers are the deepest unit on the team,” Wright said.

In a recent coaches’ poll, the Gorillas were placed seventh in the MIAA and in a media poll, the team was ranked eighth.

Coach Wright also acknowledged the large amount of talent and skill that teams have inside the MIAA.

“The MIAA always is a highly competitive league with outstanding football teams, but still a lot of

unknowns exist amongst us all,” Wright said. “We were really fortunate to have the opportunity to be one of 10 teams that played football at this level last fall. The four games played was our first opportunity as a new staff to work with our players on the field; and it was a crucial to our growth and development as a program moving forward.”

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