The Pitt State football team narrowly defeated the Hornets of Emporia State by a score of 30-28 last Saturday, Sept. 25 at Carnie Smith Stadium.
After scoring two quick touchdowns and tallying a 14-0 lead in under 10 minutes, the Gorillas never looked back. The two teams went back and forth scoring throughout the game, but the Gorillas never trailed.
“(It was) a hard-fought game by both teams,” said head coach Brain Wright. “I thought both teams played extremely hard, relatively mistake free and you had to earn every yard and every score, that’s for sure. That’s pretty typical in the MIAA.”
After going into halftime with a 21-14 lead, the Gorillas allowed the Hornets to tie the game up at 21 in the third quarter. Pitt State answered with a touchdown of their own, leading 27-21, and with eleven minutes left in the game, called on a freshman kicker to take a very important field goal.
“If I want to make a difference in the game, that’s the way to do it,” redshirt freshman kicker Cross Holmes said.
After sinking a 39-yard field goal with 11 minutes left in the game, Pitt State now had a two-possession lead and would hold their lead the rest of the way.
Pitt State was led by redshirt sophomore quarterback Mak Sexton, who finished with 309 yards and two touchdowns. Redshirt senior wide receivers Elijah Harris and Jalen Martin both had huge games for the Gorillas. Martin finished with a team-leading 130 yards while Harris finished just behind him with 128. Both players added a touchdown as well.
It was family weekend in the jungle, and Carnie Smith Stadium was rocking. With 10,611 people in attendance, the atmosphere felt like a championship game.
“The announcer telling us today’s attendance, it was an energy booster,” Martin said. “I think the people in the stands need to understand that that brings us energy, that brings us juice. Support is always important.”
After losing at home against the University of Nebraska-Kearney on Sept. 11, the players knew the Pittsburg community would still come support them but were shocked when they saw just how packed it was against the Hornets.
“I didn’t know we could fill in that many seats,” Martin said. “Right or wrong, they always are there.”
The Gorillas have two road games in a row before returning home. Oct. 2, Pitt State will head to Joplin to face the Lions of Missouri Southern and Oct. 9 they will head to Maryville, MO to face the Northwest Missouri State Bearcats. The next home game is on Oct. 16, where the Gorillas will face the Blue Tigers from the University of Lincoln. Oct. 16 will be homecoming for the Gorillas.
Students and fans can find the Pittsburg State’s football schedule online, as well as on posters around campus. Students can get a free ticket for home games at the ticket office in the Weede with their student ID.