Courtesy: Emporia State Athletics
Emporia State rallied from a ten point deficit early in the third quarter to post a come from behind 30-27 victory over Missouri Western on Homecoming. Braxton Marstall connected with Justin Brown with only 1:12 left for the game winning score.
The Hornets opened the game on offense and took the ball 65 yards in six plays as Landon Nault scored on a one yard run with 13:17 left in the period. The Griffons got on the board with a 43 yard field goal from Tyler Basch with 4:55 left in the quarter and then took a 10-7 lead on the last play of the period, a six yard touchdown run by Derek Gray.
Austin Morton tied the score with a 36 yard field goal with 8:49 left in the half before Dom Marino put Western back in front with a two yard touchdown run with just 42 seconds left in the half.
The Griffons took their biggest lead of the day on 39 yard Basch field goal with 9:06 left in the third to go up 20-10. The next series may have been the biggest of the game for Emporia State. After being forced to punt, Justin Marcha launched a 41 yarder that was muffed by the Griffons Brandin Dandridge and the Hornets Dillon Lohr recovered the muff at the Griffon 31 yard line. On the next play Emporia State ran a flea flicker in that ended with Marstall finding Denzel Strong all alone along the right side line and he was able to go 31 yards to pull the Hornets within 20-17.
Emporia State retook the lead on the first possession of the fourth quarter when Nault scored his second rushing touchdown of game. Morton’s PAT was blocked leaving the Hornets with a 23-20 lead. On the ensuing possession, the Griffons marched the ball 81 yards on ten plays capped by Marino’s second two yard TD run of the game to go up 27-20 with 7:18 left.
Both teams traded three and outs before the Hornets set up at their own 45 with 3:54 remaining in the game. A 30 yard completion from Marstall to Brown set the Hornets up at the Griffon 14 yard line with just under three minutes left. Facing fourth and two from the six with 1:51 left, Marstall gained just enough on a rush to convert the first down and give Emporia State first and goal form the four yard line. After two Nault rushes gained two yards, facing third down with 1:15 remaining Marstall threaded a needle to Brown at the goal line for the go ahead score. Morton’s PAT was good and gave the Hornets a 30-27 lead with 1:12 remaining.
Jace McDown had a big hit on Shamar Griffith on the ensuing kick return setting the Griffons up at their own 16 yard line with 1:08 left. On first down Parker Bass deflected Marino’s pass at the line of scrimmage. On second down Marino fumbled the ball after gaining four yards but the ball bounced all the way back to the Griffon four yard line, giving Missouri Western third and 22. Marino hit Elijah Cunnigham for a 20 yard completion but was stopped short of the first down by Jarrett Strode and Marino’s fourth down heave sailed well over the head of his intended receiver. The Hornets were then able to go to victory formation to run out the final 21 seconds.
Marstall, in his first action since suffering a concussion against Pittsburg State, was 24 of 42 for 261 yards with two touchdowns. Brown had 12 catches for 120 yards and the game winning touchdown. Gabe Cleveland and Gary Woods each were credited with ten tackles while Cleveland had 3.5 TFL and a sack.
The Hornets will wrap up the regular season on Saturday against Washburn. Kick-off for the 114th edition of the Turnpike Tussle is set for 2:00 p.m from Jones Field at Welch Stadium.