Curtis Meyer, Reporter
The Pittsburg Gorillas had a dominating game this weekend against the Missouri Southern Lions, only allowing 3 field goals and scoring 5 TDs.
“It’s great to know after the game that you didn’t let them into the endzone. I think our defense was just flying around, physical, just keeping them to field goals,” said Morgan Selemaea.
Pittsburg won the toss, then choose to defer to MSSU. The defense forced a quick three and out, allowing the Gorilla offense their first crack at the ball early.
The offense didn’t waste the opportunity, with quarterback Chad Dodson finding wide receiver Elijah Harris for 34 yards and bringing them into the red zone. One play later Dodson found tight end, Dallas Bond, for the 16-yard touchdown even with good coverage by MSSU defensive back Jalen Dennis.
The defense kept the momentum going, with both offenses punting. Pitt State recorded a sack on both of the Lions next two possessions, with linemen Trent Thompson and defensive end Brandon Steagall combining for one and linebackers P.J. Sarwinski and Dubem Okonkwo for the other.
On the Lion’s first play of the next drive, Selemaea forced a fumble, with safety Michael Lacey recovering the ball for Pittsburg. The offense capitalized on the momentum, going down and scoring with a one yard run by defensive linemen Zeke Wall. Unfortunately, Wall was injured a few plays later and did not play for the rest of the game.
“Coach Wright talks about it all the time, complementary football. That’s exactly what we did today. The defense stepped up in the first and second half. Really, we just had a complete game,” said Sarwinski.
With 26 seconds left in the first, Pitt State led 14 to nothing. Gaining a few first downs, MSSU was forced to punt, with a holding penalty on Pittsburg putting them inside the ten. Pitt State punted a couple plays later.
The Lions got on the board with a 52-yard kick by their kicker Nick Williams, making the score 14 to 3. On the ensuing kickoff, receiver Kolbe Katsis returned the ball 71 yards, giving the offense good field position. Dodson found tight end Devon Garrison for the twenty-yard pass over the middle, setting up a 9-yard TD pass to receiver Jack Roberts.
MSSU was once again frustrated on offense, and the Gorillas capitalized again, with a 7-play 89-yard drive culminating in a deep pass from Dodson to receiver Christian Carter, widening the lead 28-3.
“Credit to all those guys who once they get the ball in their hands go out and make plays,” said Dodson.
Pittsburg was able to stop two more drives by the Lions to close out the first half. At halftime the newest members of the Pitt State Athletics Hall of Fame were announced.
The Gorillas got the ball to start the second half, driving down to the opposite twenty before making a field goal. Missouri Southern moved the ball down the field, with a field goal making it 31 to 6.
Pittsburg was content to mostly run, finishing out the third quarter, before making it to the 1-yard line. Dodson faked the hand off to running back Caleb Lewis on the bootleg and trotted in for the final Pittsburg score of the game.
The Lions made it back to the opposite red zone but took the field goal on fourth down. Pitt State punted back to them, but the defense stepped up on the next drive and forced another MSSU punt. With 4:20 left in the game, the Gorillas ran the ball and picked up enough first downs to run out the clock and end the game.
“All wins feel good. Great just to see our guys have a great week of preparation, our guys practiced really hard this week and I think we dialed in and focused,” said head coach Brian Wright.
Pitt State will play Northwest Missouri next Saturday at home. Northwest is 4-1 after beating Missouri Western this week, losing to Central Oklahoma earlier in the season.