Tim Chik sports reporter
The Gorillas are entering their 11th and final week of the 2022 regular season with their current undefeated record of 10-0. Last week the Gorillas traveled to Washburn University in Topeka, KS, and defeated the Ichabods 37-23. The Gorillas look to finish their season strong and head into the playoffs with an impressive 11-0 record. In their final game of the regular season, the Gorillas are hosting the 3-7 Fort Hays State Tigers.
Last week after a hard-fought victory over Washburn the Gorillas earned the title of outright MIAA Champions. They have not claimed that award since the 2011 season when the Gorillas also went on to win the NCAA Division II National Championship. Last week, Sophomore Quarterback Chad Johnson Jr. had some struggles throwing three interceptions but eventually, he overcame those initial struggles throwing for 229 yards and three touchdowns. The Gorilla’s defense forced four turnovers throughout the game. Sophomore linebacker Dubem Okonkwo forced a safety in the first quarter.
This week, Pitt State hosts Fort Hays with the series between these two schools tied at five victories a piece. The last time the two teams met was in Hays, Kansas and the Gorillas bested the Tigers 34-24. However, that is the Gorilla’s only win in their past five meetings. The Gorillas have not beaten the Tigers at home since 2009 when they beat them handily 59-14.
The last time Pitt State was crowned the MIAA outright champions in 2011, they went on to have a historic postseason run winning the NCAA Division Two National Championship.
Fort Hays enters the week 3-7 looking to end their season on a high note as playoffs are out of the question for the Tigers. The Tigers enter this week ranked 10th in the MIAA against the conference champion Gorillas and who are also ranked fourth in NCAA Division II.
The Tigers’ offense is led by sophomore quarterback, Jack Dawson. Dawson was dealing with an injury earlier this season which sidelined him for a game and a half. This year he has thrown for 1,685 yards along with 13 touchdowns. His favorite target this season has been Senior wide receiver, Manny Ramsey who has caught 47 catches for 725 yards and 6 touchdowns. The Tigers have only been averaging 23.8 points per game whereas their opponents are averaging 29 points per game. The Gorillas average 33.3 points per game.
Sophomore Chad Dodson Jr. has not gone a game this year without throwing 1 or more touchdowns. He has thrown for 2,372 yards and 25 touchdowns. Dodson has not had a favorite receiver, he’s got three . Junior tight end, Devon Garrison is leading the team with 518 receiving yards, followed closely by sophomore wideout Carter Christian with 512 receiving yards this year. Senior wide receiver Bryce Murphy also has 406 receiving yards. All three of these receivers are tied with five touchdowns each.
The game will be played Saturday, Nov. 12th, at Carnie Smith Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.