Briceton Wilson ran for a 2-yard touchdown on the final play of the Pittsburg State Spring Football Game to give the White team a 16-14 victory over the Red on a rainy Saturday morning.

Briceton Wilson ran for a 2-yard touchdown on the final play of the Pittsburg State Spring Football Game to give the White team a 16-14 victory over the Red on a rainy Saturday morning.

“It felt really good,” Wilson said. “I didn’t get to play last spring, so my heart was burning to get out there and do well this time.”

Wilson was one of several Pittsburg State running backs to have a nice day. Altogether, Pittsburg State running backs combined for 185 rushing yards on the day, averaging 5.4 yards per tote.

“We knew going into the spring that running back was going to be a position of strength,” said Pittsburg State coach Tim Beck. “We have six guys there that we really feel good about.”

Pittsburg State quarterbacks saw their accuracy cut down by the rain, but that didn’t stop them from making big plays in the passing game. Each of the four candidates for the starting job — juniors Jeff Smith, Zac Dickey, Tyler Lawrence and Jeff Schibi — completed a pass of at least 18 yards, with the quarterbacks combining to hit on five passes of at least 20 yards, and four of more than 30.

“When I saw that it started raining, I got excited,” Wilson said. “I knew it was going to be more of a running game at that point. It fits me because I run hard. My high school coach always told me to hit the line as hard as you can, and that’s what I do.

“We have a great running backs coach in Coach Pierce,” Wilson said. “We’re pretty good as a group. We are still a little bumpy as we learn the offense, but we will get there.”

The White team scored first on a 34-yard field goal by Chase McCoy. That field goal was set up by a 43-yard pass from Tyler Lawrence to Gavin Lutman.

The Red team didn’t get on the board until their first possession of the second half. Red running back Jason Spradling bit off big chunks of yardage on the drive, carrying for eight, eight, then 15 yards. The 15-yard run ended with a 15-yard facemask penalty.
Spradling then burst 24 yards for a touchdown to give the Red a 7-3 lead.

That lead was short-lived. After Briceton Wilson carried the ball twice, picking up 17 yards, Zac Dickey fired a jump ball for Jeremy Tucker, and Tucker came down with a 35-yard catch, putting the ball on the 19. After a procedure penalty, Dickey hit tight end Blake Byford for a 24-yard score.

Jeff Schibi brought the Red team right back, connecting with Jared Vinoverski for a 45-yard touchdown.

The two teams then exchanged turnovers, with Lawrence first throwing an interception to safety Bryant Sanchez. Jeff Smith returned the favor five plays later when he was intercepted by brother Chas, a safety on the white team. Each team forced a stop on the next two possessions, setting up the White team with the ball, trailing 14-10.

Dickey rushed for 13 yards, then completed an eight-yard pass to Levi Kuntzsch. Four plays later, he hit Tucker for the duo’s second big play of the game, a 38-yard strike that left the ball on the two.

“Once Zac hit Tuck on that big pass down to the two, there wasn’t any question that we were going to win,” Wilson said. “I knew it. I just asked myself, ‘hey, is there any reason I can’t get two yards?’”

Wilson answered his own question by bulling into the end zone on the next play to give the White team the win.

Dickey completed 5-of-7 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown, while running for another 17 yards on three carries. Quarterbacks were considered down once they were touched by one hand.

Tucker led the White team in receiving with two catches for 73 yards. Wilson led the White team in rushing with 34 yards on six carries and a touchdown.

Defensively, the White team was paced by Chas Smith, who led all tacklers with eight stops on the day. He added a tackle for loss, an interception and a forced fumble. Both turnovers ended great Red scoring opportunities.

Spradling led all rushers with 73 yards on eight carries. Jeff Smith led the Red team in passing by completing 6-of-13 passes for 78 yards. He also threw an interception. Schibi completed one of his three attempts, the 45-yard bomb to Vinoverski.

The practice wrapped up what Beck called a “highly productive spring,” though he said the players needed to keep the effort up through summer lifting and conditioning.
“They have to go to work,” Beck said.

Wilson said that wouldn’t be a problem.

“Once August and September hits, we’ll be ready to roll.”

Kevin Flaherty can be reached at kevin.flaherty@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 Ext. 134