Curtis Meyer reporter
The Gorillas are victorious again this week with a 35-28 win over the Kearney Lopers. In a close game Pitt State scored a touchdown in the final minute to get the win.
“We didn’t flinch, down 14-0, just proud of these guys and the way they responded,” said quarterback Chad Dodson in the post-game interview.
Dodson had a great game, throwing 20 for 29, with 301 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Pitt State won the coin toss and elected to receive on the side against the wind.
“We took the ball in the beginning of the game, we wanted to have the wind on our back in the 4th quarter. I knew it was a tough game that would come down to a late score,” said Head Coach, Brian Wright in the post-game interview.
The game started heavily in Kearney’s favor. Pitt State went 5 plays for only 9 yards on the first drive of the game, punting to Kearney. Kearney took advantage of the field position and drove right down the field for the first touchdown of the game.
The Gorilla offense got a couple first downs but was stopped around midfield. Dodson lined up and took the ball, then punted. The opposing offense, led by quarter back T. J. Davis, came onto the field.
Davis scored from 8 yards out on an 11 play, 80-yard drive, early in the second. Pitt State was behind 14 to nothing. With a 3rd and 10 threatening to end the drive, Dodson found wide receiver Christian Carter for a 36-yard pass.
Kearney had Pitt stopped yet again on 3rd and 7, but Dodson found tight end Devon Garrison for a one-handed grab in the end zone. The score was now 7 to 14.
After a penalty gave the Lopers a first down, they capitalized for their third touchdown of the game.
When a holding call left Pitt State with a 1st down and 20, Dodson was able to escape the pocket and find the first down marker. After getting stopped at the one-yard line, running back, Caleb Lewis ran it in with 36 seconds left in the half, making it 14-21.
After the half, the defense was able to force Kearney to punt. Pitt State quickly drove down the field and was set up in the red zone. However, Kearney made the stop, making it a 4th and 2.
Making a gutsy call, Pitt State elected to leave the offense out, and it paid off. Dodson found Carter on a flat route to the left for the wide-open score, tying the game at 21.
The defense stepped up again, holding the Lopers to another 3 and out. Three different tacklers stuffed the run, forcing the punt.
Dodson picked up right where he left off, going straight down the field and throwing a 36-yard TD to Garrison. With 21 unanswered points, Pitt State held the lead at the end of the third.
After the longest drive in the game, lasting 6 and a half minutes, Kearney scored again to tie at 28. After burning around three minutes of the clock, Pitt State was stuck at 4th and 5. Boldly, they decided to go for it, but the pass to Garrison was incomplete. Kearney had the ball on the 48 with two timeouts and 4:35 left on the clock.
After converting a 4th and 1, the Gorilla defense really rallied, with them forcing a 4th and 8. Kearney elected to punt.
Despite being pinned at the 8 yard line, the offense moved the chains and got some breathing room. With just 12 second left on the clock, Dodson sent a rocket that landed right in the arms of wide receiver Bryce Murphy. Murphy proceeded to outrun the defense and score the late touchdown.
“That was a play that we were dying to call the whole game, but the receivers kept telling me it wasn’t there, and I think we had run enough outs and things that it was there,” said Wright.
Kearney only got two plays in after the kick-off, and Pittsburg emerged the victor, 35 to 28. Next week they will play Northeastern State at home.