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Football loses heartbreaker to Washburn

Jeffrey Fordjour, sophomore safety, races to help his team stop the ballcarrier in Saturday’s game against Washburn. Jeffrey racked up 11 total tackles for the season. Daniel Tustin

The Pittsburg State Gorilla football team had a back-and-forth battle with the Ichabods of Washburn University which resulted in a devastating 26-28 loss. 

“You work extremely hard 365 days out of they year and have 11 guaranteed opportunities and you put your heart and your soul into it,” said head coach Brian Wright. “Really tough. Really tough to swallow that one.”

The Gorillas knew this game was huge in terms of a possible postseason berth and both teams entered the game playing for something. Both Washburn and Pitt State came into the game with 7-2 records, being some of the top teams in the MIAA (Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association). 

“It was just one of those games where you know it can go one was or the other,” said senior running back Tucker Horak. “I know we fell short on the scoreboard but if you move forward with you win or you learn mentality then we’ll learn and move forward from this game, and we won’t let it happen again.”

The first quarter was a back-and-forth battle between the two teams, both capitalizing on their defense. Washburn was the first to score after picking off PSU sophomore quarterback Mak Sexton and getting the ball in scoring position early in the game. Pitt State’s defense also made a big play when senior defensive end Kaden Roy forced a fumble and the Gorillas recovered and took it all the way to the end zone. The first quarter ended in a 7-7 tie. 

The second quarter was another back-and-forth battle between the two squads. With 11:51 left in the half, senior running back Tyler Adkins scored a touchdown giving the Gorillas a 14-7 lead, but the Ichabods came right back with a touchdown of their own, bringing the score to 14-14. After a Pitt State field goal, the Ichabods scored another touchdown, bringing the score to 21-17 which is where it would stand at the end of the first half. 

The third quarter resulted in a stand-still on the scoreboard, neither team scoring in the 15-minute time frame, but the fourth quarter brought a lot of action. After another touchdown by Washburn, Pitt State trailed 28-17 but weren’t going to give up. Freshman kicker Cross Holmes hit a 25-yard field goal to bring it within eight, and with just under seven minutes in the game, Tyler Adkins scored again, bringing the score to 28-26 in favor of the Ichabods with nine minutes left to play. 

It all came down to one final drive, where the Gorillas got all the way down to the Ichabods’ 16-yard line with just seconds remaining in the game. Pitt State lined up to take a 33-yard field goal which would have given them the lead, but was blocked by Washburn, resulting in the Ichabods to take home the victory. 

Even though the Gorillas didn’t have the outcome they may have wanted, there is still one more game left, and they aren’t going to give up now.

“Just got to be the same thing (mindset),” Horak said. “We’ve got to have the same mentality we’ve had all year and that’s that we take every week one at a time and there’s a lot of the tape that we can learn from and get better at.”

The Gorillas now have a 7-3 record, which is nothing to be ashamed about when talking about a football team in one of the toughest conferences in the country. Pitt State will travel to Hays next week to take on the Tigers of Fort Hays State University. 

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