Gorillas fall to Quincy; English posts double-double for Gorillas

PITTSBURG, Kan. – (WATCH) Pitt State falls to Quincy 82-58 Friday night at the Pitt State Classic.

Marque English posts a double-double for the Gorillas with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Pitt State will be back in action Saturday night vs. Illinois-Springfield at 7:30 PM.

Four Webb City seniors sign to play college baseball

WEBB CITY, Mo. – Four Webb City High School seniors signed on Friday afternoon to continue their baseball careers in college.

Kenley Hood is headed to Highland CC in Kansas, while Walker Sweet, Cy Darnell and Kaylor Darnell signed to play in Joplin for the Missouri Southern Lions.

“My main goal is to get bigger and to keep throwing harder,” Kaylor Darnell says, “I want to be a starter for Missouri Southern and just be a good player for them. It’s a great fit for me. It’s also a great fit for my education. Some of the other schools that offered me really didn’t have that fit.”

“The atmosphere is good and I like the players there. I like the all turf field, too. I think the location is probably one of the big reasons,” says Cy Darnell, whose father, Bryce, is the head coach at Missouri Southern, “I like the assistant coach,” he adds with a laugh, “Yeah, I like the assistant coach.”

“They’ve had really successful seasons year in and year out,” Sweet says of signing to MSSU, “The communication they keep with their players and atmosphere they have is really what stood out to me. The first year I really just want to develop as a player and a teammate, and hopefully get some playing time my freshman year.”

“Coach Hay is a great guy. I’ve been in contact with him for a couple years now,” Hood says of why he chose Highland CC, “It really just seemed like home. It’s a small college up there and it’s a great town.”

Gorillas prepare to face UIndy in first playoff game since 2014

PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Pittsburg State Gorillas are back in the Division II national football playoffs.

The Gorillas (11-0) will host the GLVC champion University of Indianapolis (9-1) in the first round on Saturday.

Pitt State heads into the weekend ranked #4 in the national poll, while UIndy is #13.

Saturday’s game will be a tough test for the Pitt State offense. The Greyhounds have the #1 rush defense in the nation, allowing just 54 yards per game on the ground.

“Their front 7 really attacks the ball,” says Pitt State offensive lineman Kory Woodruff, “It doesn’t seem to me like they’re really concerned about the back end. They give up a lot of explosive pass plays and stuff like that. They really try to sell out to stop the run, and that’s not really something that we’ve seen.”

“If you’re going to commit that much to stopping the run, there’s things you can do on the perimeter or through play action passing where you believe you may have an opportunity to make some plays,” says head coach Brian Wright on facing an aggressive UIndy front.

“I think it starts with dominating the line of scrimmage,” Woodruff adds, “They have a good defense and good linebackers. They blitz a lot. They play heavy run a lot. It just starts with dominating the line of scrimmage and letting our playmakers make plays.”

Saturday’s game will be Pitt State’s first appearance in the playoffs since 2014.

The Gorillas lack playoff experience – but they’re excited for the opportunity they have ahead of them – and happy to bring playoff football back to Pittsburg.

“It feels good to bring back what they expect,” Woodruff says on earning a home playoff game in front of Gorilla fans, “The standard is the standard. This is what we came here for. We came here to play in games like this. It feels good to be back at this point, but we’re not done yet.”

“It means a lot. I’m glad we could do it for our seniors this year,” says Pitt State LB Dubem Okonkwo, “Guys like PJ Sarwinski, Morgan Selemaea, Brandon Mlekus and Zeke Wall. The fact we get to do it with them…they came back another year and they put their jobs on hold and came back for us. It means a lot and I’m glad we could do it for them this year.”

“There’s nothing quite like The Jungle,” Woodruff finishes, “My opportunities are limited to play here. Any opportunity I have to play here, I’m excited about it and I’m ready to go.”

Kickoff for Saturday’s game is at 1 PM at Carnie Smith Stadium in Pittsburg.

 

Carthage standouts Cochran, Jackson sign to play college softball

CARTHAGE, Mo. – Carthage High School softball standouts Landry Cochran and Ashlynn Jackson signed Thursday afternoon to continue their careers in college.

Jackson signed to pitch at Fort Scott Community College, while Cochran is headed to Division II Drury University to play in the outfield.

“It’s all surreal. This has been my dream since I was six years old,” Cochran says, “Now that it has finally come full circle, it’s just awesome. I first met the Drury coaches at a camp before my junior year. I just really liked the way he interacted with the players and the way he talked about campus and everything. This summer I had a chance to play in front of him and I went and toured their campus. I just loved it. I loved the way they talked about their softball program, and everything was just awesome.”

“Everybody is just like a family there,” Jackson says on why she chose Fort Scott CC, “They’re all behind each other and they all have each others’ backs through everything.”

Jackson was an All-COC selection and an All-District pick for Carthage this fall.

Cochran is a 4X All-COC pick, a 4X All-District selection – and set program records at Carthage for both single season hits and career hits.

“It’s awesome to think about. When I was here in high school I just wanted to make memories and have fun and to the best I can while I was out there. I think that’s what I did,” Cochran says of setting records at Carthage.

“I would love to earn the leadoff spot at Drury,” Cochran adds of her goals at Drury, “That’s the spot I love, and I would love to play center field. That’s what I’m going for.”

MSSU women win home opener, get to 5-0 to start the season

JOPLIN, Mo. – (WATCH) Missouri Southern tops Angelo State 83-66 in their home opener Thursday night to get to 5-0 this season.

Kryslyn Jones goes 4-6 from three and leads the Lions with 18 points. Lacy Stokes posts 17 points, 9 assists and 4 rebounds. Amaya Johns (16 pts) and Layne Skiles (12 pts) were also in double figures for Missouri Southern.

MSSU men prepare for Pitt State classic

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Missouri Southern Lions will be back on the floor on Friday night in Pittsburg, facing Illinois-Springfield in the Pitt State Classic.

The Lions are aiming for their first win of the season this weekend, after falling to Minnesota State and Winona State in their first two games last week.

“The results weren’t what we expected or what we wanted,” says head coach Sam McMahon of his team’s first two games, “There’s a lot of room for growth. There’s some good spots and there’s some bad spots. We’re just focused on the process of getting better every day. Offensively, we need to get more paint touches. I think we fell in love with the 3-point shot a little too much. We want to attack the paint.”

“They compete and they play hard, but we have to get tougher,” McMahon adds on the Lions, “They gave it their best effort, and that’s all you can ask for. We’re just hungry to get better, and we definitely will. It’s a long journey and there’s a long way to go.”

Missouri Southern faces Illinois-Springfield on Friday night at 5:30 at Pittsburg State.

 

MSSU women prepare for Thursday’s home opener

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Missouri Southern women’s basketball team will play their first home game of the season on Thursday – hosting Angelo State at noon.

Missouri Southern is 4-o to begin the season and ranked #19 in the nation. Angelo State is 2-0 heading into Thursday’s game.

“It’s really exciting. We’re ready to be on our home court,” says junior center Madi Stokes, who is averaging 14 points and 11.5 rebounds per game this season, “It’s kind of weird playing at noon, but I feel like we’re going to have a lot of students come and support us. The football team is probably come out and show their support. It will be fun having that atmosphere back.”

“We have to continue to compete,” says head coach Ronnie Ressel, “When we get to conference play, it’s going to be tough every night. We have to understand what we need to do to compete and win ball games. I think our kids have a good grasp of that right now, we just have to maintain that and maintain that confidence.”

The Lions have had a tough non-conference schedule to begin the season.

Southern beat nationally-ranked Lubbock Christian 65-64 in their season opener. They have also beaten Minnesota-Duluth (54-51) and Harding (68-66) in their first four games. Both of those teams received votes in the preseason national rankings.

“With the year we had last year, we knew we had a chance to be pretty good again. I wanted to make sure we challenged ourselves to it would prepare us for conference play,” Ressell says on creating a tough non-conference schedule, “Our league is so tough. There are 7 or 8 teams that I think could win our league if they get on a good run.”

“Those were big wins when it comes to March and regional rankings and strength of schedule and everything else,” Ressel adds on his team’s big wins to begin the season, “They were huge, especially away from home. All of those were on the road. Harding was a true road win, but the rest were all neutral site. It was exciting and it was fun. I just loved how our kids competed, especially on the defensive end.”

MSSU puts 13 players on All-MIAA football list

JOPLIN, Mo. – Missouri Southern football has 13 players on the All-MIAA awards list.

Kicker Nick Williams is the team’s lone 1st team All-MIAA selection. He was 12-17 on field goals this season, including the longest field goal of the MIAA season – nailing a 52-yarder against Pittsburg State.

RB Nathan Glades and LB Richard Jordan, Jr. were both 2nd team All-MIAA selections.

RELEASE FROM MISSOURI SOUTHERN ATHLETICS:

The Missouri Southern football program placed 13 players on the All-MIAA team as the league announced its postseason awards today.

Leading the way for the Lions is kicker Nick Williams. Williams was a first-team selection at kicker and second-team selection at punter. This year, Williams ranked second in the MIAA in field goals per game, while leading the MIAA in punting and ranking fifth nationally in that category.

Williams averaged 43.25 yards per punt this year which was just off the single season record at MSSU. He had a long of 72 yards and 22 inside the 20-yard line with 13 going 50 yards or more. He was 12-of-17 in field goals this year, including kicking the longest field goal in the MIAA at 52 yards and is the seventh-longest in Division II this season. Williams ranks sixth in a career in kick scoring (120), while his 24 field goals rank fourth-most all-time at MSSU.

Nathan Glades and Richard Jordan Jr. were both second-team selections with Glades getting accolades at running back and Jordan at linebacker.

Jordan finished the season with 106 tackles and is the third Lion to record three separate 100-tackle seasons in his career. He finished his career with 381 tackles, ranking third in MSSU history behind only Hall of Famer’s Ron Burton and his father Richard Jordan Sr. Jordan ranked eighth nationally and led the MIAA in forced fumbles, while ranking second in the league in total tackles and third in solos. His 11 career forced fumbles is an MSSU record.

Glades ranked third in the MIAA in rushing yards and rushing yards per game but was just shy of the top mark among running backs. He rushed for 855 yards and six scores this season, averaging 4.6 per carry.

Jaedon Stoshak was a third-team selection at two positions this season as he earned honors at wide receiver and kick/punt returner. This season, Stoshak led the lead and was tied for the D2 lead in punt return touchdowns at two, which tied a single-season and MSSU career record. He led the MIAA and ranked second nationally in punt returns, while ranking fifth in the MIAA in combined kick returns. Stoshak had 39 receptions for 481 yards and three scores, while averaging 19.2 yards per punt return and 16.5 yards per kick return.

Lepopeasenuu Tito-Fualaau was a third team selection on the offensive line as he helped anchor the group that allowed the Lions to lead the MIAA in tackles for a loss allowed (fewest) and red zone offense.

Solomona Fetuao and Jamie Tago were both third-team selections on the defensive line. Fetauo finished the season with 27 tackles, including 6.5 for a loss and three sacks, while posting eight quarterback hurries and one forced fumble. Tago posted 21 tackles and led the team with 9.5 tackles for a loss of 38 yards and had a team-high five sacks this season.

Southern had six individuals earn honorable mention honors: Dwayne Lawson (all-purpose back), Kenneth Fehrman (offensive line), Solomon Garcia (defensive line) Coleman Booker (linebacker), Colton Winder (linebacker) and Jalen Dennis (defensive back).

Lawson spent time as the wildcat this year, rushing for an average of 8.0 yards per carry as he posted 303 yards on 38 attempts with three touchdowns. He also caught eight passes for 74 yards on the season. Fehrman and his other offensive linemen helped anchor the group that allowed the Lions to lead the MIAA in tackles for a loss allowed (fewest) and red zone offense.

Garcia was fourth on the team with 53 tackles this year, including 5.5 for a loss and 2.5 tackles. He added four quarterback hurries. Booker and Winder helped lead one of the best linebacking groups in the nation this year. Booker finished third on the team with 65 tackles, 1.5 sacks an interception, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Winder was third in the MIAA and second on the team with 91 tackles, while posting three interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.

Dennis finished with 43 tackles this year and an interception, while also posting one forced fumble and a pair of fumble recoveries.

Pitt State’s Wright named MIAA Coach of the Year; Katsis earns Freshman of the Year

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pitt State HC Brian Wright has been named the MIAA Coach of the Year.

Wright led the Gorillas to an 11-0 record in the regular season and the MIAA conference championship. It’s Pitt State’s first MIAA title since 2014, and their first undefeated season since 2004. The Gorillas have earned the #3 seed in Super Region 3 and will host UIndy in the first round of the Division II playoffs on Saturday at 1 PM.

PSU freshman WR/KR Kolbe Katsis is the MIAA Freshman of the Year. Katsis racked up 450 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns this season. He also averaged 28.1 yards per kick return.

In total, 18 Pitt State football players earned All-MIAA recognition on Tuesday – including 8 1st team All-MIAA selections.

RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

Eighteen members of the Pittsburg State University football team earned All-MIAA honors Tuesday (Nov. 15) following a vote of the conference head coaches.

Additionally, head coach Brian Wright was selected the 2022 MIAA Coach of the Year and wide receiver/return specialist Kolbe Katsis was named the MIAA Freshman of the Year.

Eight Gorillas were named to the first-team All-MIAA squad: junior tight end Devon Garrison, junior offensive lineman Trase Jeffries, sophomore running back Caleb Lewis, graduate safety Brandon Mlekus, senior wide receiver Bryce Murphy, sophomore defensive lineman Dubem Okonkwo, graduate linebacker P.J. Sarwinski and senior offensive lineman Kory Woodruff.

Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Christian Carter, redshirt junior defensive back Rico Payton and graduate defensive lineman Zeke Wall garnered second team All-MIAA accolades, while sophomore quarterback Chad Dodson Jr., redshirt sophomore linebacker Alex Gaskill, Katsis, junior defensive back Michael Lacey and redshirt junior offensive linebacker Cooper Schettler were named to the third-team All-MIAA squad.

Redshirt sophomore linebacker Luke Jennings and sophomore defensive lineman Cole Sample received honorable mention All-MIAA recognition.

Garrison (Elk River, Minn.) has caught 29 passes for a team-leading 555 yards (19.14 ypc) and five touchdowns on the season, while Murphy (Neosho, Mo.) has 20 catches for 406 yards (20.3 ypc) and five scores in eight games played. Carter (Kansas City, Mo.) also has made a team-leading 39 grabs for 539 yards (13.8 ypc) and five touchdowns.

Lewis (Burleson, Texas) has carried the ball 188 times for 859 yards (4.6 ypc) and 10 touchdowns thus far.

Jeffries (Broken Arrow, Okla.) and Woodruff (Sioux City, Iowa) have helped pave the way up front for the Gorillas to average 33.5 points and 393.8 total yards per game.

Dodson (Jacksonville, Fla.) has completed 172 of 299 passes (.575) for 2,543 yards and 27 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. He also has rushed the ball for 162 net yards and a score.

Sarwinski (Galena, Kan.) has made a team-leading 74 tackles (39 solo) with 10.0 tackles-for-loss, 3.0 quarterback sacks and four pass breakups, while Okonkwo (Kansas City, Mo.) has posted 29 tackles with 12.0 TFLs, 8.5 quarterback sacks and two forced fumbles.

Mlekus (Frontenac, Kan.) has registered 59 tackles, 2.5 TFLs and two fumble recoveries, while Gaskill (Webb City, Mo.) has posted 53 stops including 9.5 TFLs and 1.5 QB sacks. Jennings (Gardner, Kan.) has made 32 tackles with 5.0 TFLs and two PBUs.

Wall (Carl Junction, Mo.) has logged 18.0 tackles, 2.0 TFLs and a fumble recovery thus far, while Sample (Jarbalo, Kan.) has made 15 stops and 2.0 TFLs on the season.
Payton (St. Louis, Mo.) has registered 11 tackles and four pass breakups on the season, while Lacey (Cleveland, Ohio) has compiled 24 tackles, six pass breakups and a fumble recovery.

Katsis (Owasso, Okla.) has returned 14 kickoffs for a 28.1-yard average on the season. He also has caught 20 passes for 450 yards (22.5 ypc) and five touchdowns.

Wright has led the Gorillas to their first MIAA title since 2014 and the program’s first outright conference crown since 2011. In his third year at the helm of the Pitt State program, Wright has compiled a 21-5 (.808) overall record leading the Gorillas.

Gorillas earn #3 seed in playoffs; host UIndy in first round

PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Pittsburg State Gorillas are back in the Division II national playoffs for the first time since 2014.

The Gorillas have earned the #3 seed in Super Region 3, and will host GLVC champion UIndy in the first round on Saturday. Kickoff will be at 1 PM.

Pitt State finished the regular season with a perfect 11-0 record, winning the outright MIAA league championship. It’s their first undefeated regular season since 2004.