PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg State football team closed out a 27-10 road win over Emporia on Sunday, after lightning strikes above Welch Stadium forced the final 10 minutes of the contest to be played a day later.
In a game which started on Saturday and ended on Sunday, the Gorillas built a 24-10 lead before the delay and came back a few hours later to tack on three more points and seal the win.
Emporia State jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead in the first quarter, as the Hornets went 75 yards in 13 plays before scoring on a four-yard touchdown pass from Braxton Marstall to Jordan Jackson on the opening drive of the contest.
Following the touchdown, the Gorillas drove the ball into the red zone on a 23-yard pass from John Roderique to Jovon Wilson, but an interception in the end zone gave the ball back to the Hornets on their own 20-yard line.
Pitt State’s defense swung the momentum by forcing a punt after the turnover.
The Gorillas began their new drive near midfield and quickly tied the game at 7-7, as Michael Rose broke free for a 59-yard touchdown run with four minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Rose scored again in the early going of the second quarter, finding the end zone from 10 yards out to cap off a 12-play, 87-yard scoring drive to put the Gorillas in the lead at 14-7.
After receiving the kick to begin the second half, the Gorillas were forced to punt the ball back to the Hornets.
ESU took over on its own 36-yard line, but a fumble forced by Ciyre Simmons and recovery by Lorenzo West gave the Gorillas the ball just outside the red zone.
Pitt State capitalized on the opportunity, as Brendon Franklin threw to West for touchdown on the first play to push the score to 21-7 with 11 minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Hornets started the following drive at their own 36-yard line and drove into PSU territory in 10 plays, but settled for a 29-yard field goal to narrow the gap to 21-10.
PSU got the points right back in the following drive, as Jared Vincent split the uprights from 29-yards out to push the score to 24-14.
Shortly into the fourth quarter lightning strikes forced the officials to pause the game for a weather delay.
What was scheduled to be a 30-minute delay turned into several hours, as the storm clouds continued to light up the dark sky.
As the lightning continued to strike near midnight, it was decided the game would resume at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Pittsburg State picked up on Sunday at the ESU 22-yard line and ran three plays before kicking a 31-yard field goal converted by Vincent.
On the third play of the drive, Roderique left the game with an apparent right-leg injury.
Thomas LePage would later enter the game to play quarterback when the Gorillas’ offense came back onto the field.
The Gorilla defense went on to force a turnover on downs in the next possession and offense drained the remaining five minutes off the clock to seal the win.
Michael Rose had a big hand in the win, as he picked up 206 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns.
Roderique tallied 62 yards through the air and picked up 17 yards on the ground.
Morgan Selemaea was the team leader in tackles with nine and had one interception.
Willie Cooper notched three sacks and five tackles.
The Gorillas will host Northwest Missouri at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer