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Morning Sun
  • Brown tops West as Gorillas beat Mo. Southern 26-14

  • It was another good Saturday afternoon for the Pittsburg State Gorillas against Missouri Southern.



    The Pitt State defense forced three turnovers, the ground attack outgained Missouri Southern 299-216 and Harlon Hill candidate John Brown eclipsed Ronnie West’s school career receptions mark during a 26-14 win at Fred G. Hughes Stadium. The Gorillas have won 19 straight against Southern.

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  • It was another good Saturday afternoon for the Pittsburg State Gorillas against Missouri Southern.
    The Pitt State defense forced three turnovers, the ground attack outgained Missouri Southern 299-216 and Harlon Hill candidate John Brown eclipsed Ronnie West’s school career receptions mark during a 26-14 win at Fred G. Hughes Stadium. The Gorillas have won 19 straight against Southern.
    “We were extremely proud of our players,” Pitt State head coach Tim Beck told reporters after the game. “We really wanted to win that game for our seniors. It would have been very easy when we had some adversity today to cash it in. We really battled back, really fought back. You’ve got to give Missouri Southern a lot of credit. They’ve got a good football team, played extremely hard, they’re extremely tough to defend and our guys had to get ready for that in a short week. Our defensive coaches and players did a nice job of defending the option other than the two big plays they had. Just a really good effort, really proud of our players.”
    Brown needed three receptions to pass West and Brown ended the game with three receptions for 72 yards.
    “The thing about John Brown,” Beck said. “As good a football player as he is and I think he’s a darn good football player, he’s a better kid. He’s a great kid and man, he’s fun to watch, he’s fun to coach and it’s exciting having him. We’re sure glad we’ve got him for one more season.”
    Brown now has 124 receptions for 2,189 yards and 20 touchdowns in 24 career games for Pitt State.
    Fellow receiver Luke Rampy scored his first career rushing TD on a 44-yarder and this play gave Pitt State back the lead in the second half. The Gorillas scored the final 16 points of the game after falling behind 14-10.
    “Luke’s run down there . . . that touchdown . . . I thought was a really nice run,” Beck said. “He got down the sideline and then he had to make a cutback to get it in the end zone and boosted us at the time.”
    Brown’s counterpart Landon Zerkel caught four passes for 37 yards in his final game for Southern and only two receivers (one for each team) caught every pass in the game.
    Missed opportunities were the story of the first half. Pitt State recovered a pair of fumbles in enemy territory and only punched in three points on a Connor Frazell 28-yard field goal 11.1 seconds before halftime. Southern lost two fumbles and a fumbled snap cost senior kicker Dallas Herndon an opportunity at a wind-aided 52-yard FG attempt on the last play of the half; Herndon’s career long stands at 42.
    The Gorillas had -8 yards of total offense after their first two offensive possessions.
    Page 2 of 3 - Anthony Abenoja connected with Andrew Castaneda for a 51-yard pass and catch on the first play from scrimmage but Castaneda was flagged for illegal touching after he went out-of-bounds and reentered the field of play. Pitt State lost a down on the play and a bad snap on third down forced Pitt State to punt.
    On its third possession, Pitt State engineered a quick-strike drive, moving 55 yards in 5 plays and 2:17. The drive was highlighted by a 36-yard strike to Brown over the Southern coverage and a Brown 8-yard TD run on a play similar to Brown’s three TD runs against Southern last year.
    However, one of Pitt State’s recent Achilles’ heels came back to bite the Gorillas on the next play from scrimmage. Southern senior Ne’Ronte Threatt hit pay dirt and sprinted into the open field; Threatt and PSU last defender Graylon Sanders intersected but Sanders could not stop Threatt and Threatt collected a 75-yard TD run on a scoring drive all of 12 seconds.
    Southern came out strong on its first possession after halftime. After a short gain on first down, Southern moved 74 yards in three plays. The big gain came on a Threatt 51-yard run down to the PSU 3; Sanders made the stop on Threatt but No. 17 would give Southern the lead on the very next play. On two long runs, Threatt gained 126 of his 144 yards for the game.
    “That’s the thing we were worried about a little bit,” Beck said. “We had some concern obviously after that happened. Again, you’ve got to give our kids a lot of credit. They fought through some adversity today. It was a tough, physical football game too. Both teams were playing extremely hard. It looked like an earlier game in the season.”
    A pass interference penalty on Southern freshman safety Deondre Philson gave Pitt State new life on its first second-half offensive possession and the Gorillas capitalized with consecutive first-down runs by Abenoja totaling 34 yards. Abenoja’s high school and college teammate Rampy then scored his go-ahead TD run and Pitt State responded to adversity better than recent home games against Missouri Western and Lindenwood.
    The next Southern drive sputtered out and taking over at the MSSU 47 after Southern punter Dominic O’Neill booted one 24 yards into the wind, Pitt State managed a Frazell 22-yard boot for a 20-14 advantage. Brown tied West’s mark on a 22-yard catch down to the MSSU 8.
    Brown set the record on Pitt State’s fourth possession, a 14-yard first down catch into Southern territory. Eight plays later, Spradling would go in from a yard out for a 26-14 lead with 2:33 remaining and Southern now in hurry-up mode. De’Vante Bausby intercepted Southern quarterback Kellen Cox and the Gorillas were able to run out the clock after two first-down runs from Brown (26 yards) and Abenoja (17).
    Page 3 of 3 - Pitt State finishes the regular season 7-3 overall and 7-3 in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. Postseason fates will be determined today — between playoff seedings and selections for the Kanza Bowl and the Mineral Water Bowl. The Gorillas played as if Saturday was their last game.
    “When you win your last game, it helps you in the offseason,” Beck said. “Offseason’s a tough thing and you’ve got to love football to be able to go through it. We’re happy to finish the season with a W.”
    Missouri Southern finishes its season 6-5 and 5-5 in the MIAA.
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