EMPORIA (KSNT) – It was a game that complimented the greatness that already was Emporia State quarterback Braden Gleason.
The Hornets ran away with a Senior Day victory over Missouri Southern, winning 63-28. However, the performance was all about Gleason, who threw on the black and gold for one final home game at Welch Stadium.
Already the program leader in passing yards, Saturday’s matchup was an opportunity to add a cherry on top of an already illustrious career. Gleason picked up 60 passing yards on the Hornets’ first drive, setting up a one-yard touchdown run by DeAndre Thomas.
After a Lion three-and-out, Gleason connected with receiver Tyler Kahmann for a deep ball, turning it into a 74-yard touchdown and 14-0 early lead.
Two more possessions, two more touchdowns. With 14 minutes left in the first half, Gleason connected with Kahmann again on a two-yard touchdown to take a 28-7 lead.
Four minutes later, Gleason found Jaylen Varner for an eight-yard touchdown. Seven minutes after that, Gleason connected with Trenden Collins for a touchdown. This gave the Hornets a 42-7 halftime lead.
If it wasn’t for Gleason, the story of the game would be running back DeAndre Thomas. In Emporia State’s second drive of the second half, Thomas picked up the last 33 yards of a touchdown drive. He would finish with five rushing scores in the game.
With 12 minutes left in the game, Gleason went out for one final drive, capped with a Thomas touchdown run to give the Hornets a 63-28 lead.
After a Lion three-and-out, Gleason went out in the huddle, then an Emporia State timeout gave Gleason a curtain call as fans and teammates cheered on the all-time great quarterback.
In Gleason’s final home game, he finished with the eighth-most total yards by an MIAA a player ever. Gleason completed 42 of 46 passes for 482 yards and four touchdowns, with 30 yards rushing.
“I’m going to try to stay non-emotional,” Gleason said after the game. “It means so much to me, this place is so special.”
Along with Gleason, Thomas finished with 150 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Running back Billy Ross Jr. added 101 yards rushing.
Kahmann accounted for nine catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Varner finished with 11 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown.
The win moves Emporia State’s record to 7-3. The Hornets have one final regular season matchup at Fort Hays on Saturday, Nov. 11.