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Gorillas narrowly escape the Lions

Jalin Martin scores a catch touchdown in Pittstate’s game against Missouri Southern on Oct. 2. Image courtesy of Josh Rexroat

The Pittsburg State Gorilla football team defeated the Lions of Missouri Southern by a score of 20-16 last Saturday, Oct. 2. 

The Gorillas went into the game with a 3-1 record, and the Lions came in at 1-3. This doesn’t mean much in the MIAA (Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association), where every team comes to compete, and every team is ready to win. 

“You can’t take any Saturday’s off in this league,” said head coach Brian Wright. “You better bring you’re A-game because everybody is bringing their A-game against the Gorillas. We got to be ready to play our best.”

The Lions were the first ones on the scoreboard after a field goal five minutes in to the first quarter, and the next score wouldn’t be until a PSU touchdown with just over seven minutes to go in the second quarter after a 17 yard pass from quarterback Mak Sexton to Jalen Martin to top off an eight play, 67 yard drive. The Gorillas went into halftime leading 7-6.

The second half was much of the same, a lot of defense. The Gorillas scored 13 second half points, compared to the Lions who scored 10. The Gorillas would hold the Lions to just one touchdown throughout the game. 

“I’m proud of how our guys played towards the end of that game, and hanging in there and battling through some adversity,” Wright said. “We hung together, never quit, guys were playing hard the whole way through and really didn’t panic, and I think that’s a testament to our leadership.”

The game was very tight throughout with the largest lead only being six points, but the Gorillas found a way to come together and pull a victory out on the road. 

“I’m just really proud of our guys for battling,” said redshirt senior linebacker P.J. Sarwinski. “We had a lot of adversity and it’s kind of tough to get momentum and once Caleb Lewis took that punt return back, we really found that momentum and we kind of rode on that.”

Pitt State came into the game averaging just over 32 points per game but were held below their average, using their defense to help put them in a position to pull out a win. 

“I thought the defense played well throughout the game and had some keys stops again, throughout,” Wright said. 

The Gorilla defense held Missouri Southern to just 268 total yards in the game. The Lions longest passing play was just 20 yards and their longest run was just 12, making it a successful road trip for Pitt State’s defense.

The Gorillas will look forward to traveling to Maryville, Missouri to take on the number two ranked Bearcats of Northwest Missouri State on Oct. 9 before heading back to Carnie Smith Stadium for their homecoming matchup against the Blue Tigers of Lincoln University on Oct. 16. Fans can find tickets online or at the ticket office in the Weede. Students will get a free ticket with their student ID. 

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