Pittsburg State’s abbreviated football season concludes today when the Gorillas tackle West Texas A&M.
Kickoff is a noon at Buffalo Stadium in Canyon, Texas.
The Gorillas (1-2) were scheduled to play today at home against Western Colorado, but coronavirus problems at Western Colorado forced the game to be canceled. West Texas A&M (3-2) also had today’s originally game canceled, so the Gorillas and Buffs moved up their game from the Nov. 28 scheduled date.
During the three games, the Gorillas defense has shown improvement after giving up 31 points and 441 yards in a five-point loss to Nebraska-Kearney to begin the season.
“There are always things we can work on,” junior nose guard Zeke Wall said. “But right now, we’re just getting the kinks (out) because we’re a younger team ... and getting questions asked that needed to be asked. There’s not as many seniors as there were last year. ... I think we’re getting to where we need to be. Our defense has played really good these last two games. Even though we’ve gotten beat, we’ve been playing fast and hard. We want to be the most physical team out there.”
Despite the short schedule, Wall, former Carl Junction High School standout, believes it was worth it.
“One hundred percent,” he answered. “If it was just one game, that would be fine. As long as we got at least one game, that would make everything worth it. All the hard work we put in, it’s worth it.”
Senior running back Tyler Adkins agrees.
“I think it was enough just for coming out and having that experience,” he said. “We worked all offseason not knowing if we were going to get to play at all. So I think just having four games is tremendously exciting for us to be able to go out there and play and not have this offseason and doing all these workouts for nothing.”
It’s also been beneficial for new head coach Brian Wright and his staff to get a look at the Gorillas in live situations.
“Any opportunity to play this season has helped us and helped our football team come together and grow and get better,” Wright said. “And we have something to evaluate the offseason and to work from.”
Wright didn’t disclose if this final game would unveil something that has yet to be seen.
“Every week is a little bit different,” he said. “You put a new game plan in each week, go out and practice it during the week and then you plan on executing it. Each week is a little bit unique because of the opponent and trying to take advantage of what the opponent does.”
Analyzing the season, “We’re making progress week to week,” Wright said. “We’re nowhere near where we need to be offensively. I’m disappointed we haven’t been able to put more points on the board right now. We’ve run the ball well at times, we’re thrown the ball well at times. We just haven’t been able to put it all together and finish off drives like you need to do.
“I think our defense has shown at times that it can be very, very good. We have to still continue to eliminate the big plays and the big conversions on third- and fourth-and-long. Other than that, I’m pleased with how our guys have come together and how we continue to work and how we continue to get better.”
And the season has gone by quickly.
“We started back in June,” Wall said, “and up until this past month or two, it was going slow. But then once that first game hit, we were rolling and they just flew by. It’s crazy to think that we’re already on the last game.”