PITTSBURG — The woes continue for the Pittsburg State football team, as the Gorillas dropped to 2-3 on the season after losing to Washburn 35-20 on Saturday.
A 10-point lead for the Gorillas went by the wayside halfway through the third quarter when the Ichabods scored two touchdowns in 10 seconds of game time to take a four-point lead before going on to earn the win.
“Our kids played extremely hard,” PSU head coach Tim Beck said. “It was a hard-fought and a physical game. I told the kids after the game that I was proud of them for doing everything we asked them to do this week and for playing with a lot of grit and toughness. We just had some frustrating things happen. We have a great group of kids who have a lot of character and great leadership. We haven’t been in this situation in a long time, but we will find a way to get them back at it tomorrow and get them ready to go.”
An unpromising start to the game saw the Ichabods go up by seven in the opening drive of the series on a 26-yard touchdown run by Mickeel Stewart.
The Gorillas got some offensive momentum going after being held in check in the in the first quarter and took the ball into the red zone on a 18-yard run by John Roderique.
Roderique later dove into the end zone from two yards out to cap off a 12-play, 52-yard drive and tie the score at 7-7 to begin the second quarter.
Pitt State went on to take the lead at the four-minute mark of the second quarter on the strength of a 27-yard field goal converted by Jared Vincent.
The Gorillas’ scoring drive began after taking over on downs at the Washburn 36-yard line and was highlighted by a 41-yard run by Roderique.
Pitt State extended the lead to 17-7 in the early going of the second half, as Josh Hornback blocked a punt which was scooped up by Juante Baldwin, who ran 48 yards to the end zone.
Washburn swung the momentum in its favor after Zach Willis broke free for a 53-yard touchdown run.
The Ichabods created their own luck by recovering a surprise onside kick and scoring on a 54-yard touchdown pass from Blake Peterson to Carey Woods on the first play of the drive to take the lead at 21-17 with under six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
PSU moved the ball into the red zone in nine plays at the end of the third quarter and narrowed the deficit to one on a 23-yard field goal by Vincent to begin the fourth quarter.
Willis found the end zone again following the field goal on a 40-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 28-20.
The Ichabods began to pull away after scoring again on a 19-yard touchdown run by Stewart to push the score to 35-20.
With the clock working against them, the Gorillas moved the ball down to the Wasburn two-yard line, but a fumble in the end zone was recovered by the Ichabods, giving them the ball on their own 20-yard line with under four minutes remaining in the contest.
The Gorillas used two timeouts to prevent Washburn from draining the clock and got one final possession after forcing a punt, but a interception by Brooks Peavler ended any hope of a comeback.
Roderique went 98 yards on eight completions with one interception, while running for 106 yards with one touchdown.
Rose was second on the team in rushing with 105 yards on 25 carries.
Pitt State hits the road to take on Fort Hays State at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at morningsun.net and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.