Emporia State was shut out for the first time in 15 games in a 28-0 loss at Missouri Western on Saturday afternoon.
Both teams traded three and outs to start the game. The Griffons then went 55 yards on eight plays, the last 35 yards coming on a pitch from quarter back Wyatt Steigerwald to running back Markel Smith who then backwards across the field to Steigerwald who found Shamar Griffith in the endzone for a 7-0 lead with 8:26 left in the first.
Lawson Holbert forced and recovered a fumble on the next Griffon possession giving the Hornets the ball at their own 31 with 3:36 left in the quarter. Emporia State’s ensuing drive stalled at midfield and Ross Brungardt’s punt forced Western to take over on their own 18 yard line. Two penalties kept the Griffon drive alive as they went 82 yards in five plays before Deron Thompson dove in from one yard out to give MWSU a 14-0 lead with 14:09 left in the half.
After trading non-scoring drives that included a fumble, missed field goal and two punts the Hornets took over with 6:07 left in the half. Dalton Cowan gained 11 yards on the ground and connected with Dexton Swinehart for a gain of eight before appearing to hit Wil Amos for a 41 yard touchdown with 3:53 left. However the Hornets were flagged for an illegal shift and the play was called back. The Hornets advanced to the 30 but turned the ball over on downs with 2:43 left in the half. Western answered with a nine play, 70 yard drive capped by a three yard pass from Steigerwald to Luke Vang to give the Griffons a 21-0 lead with 28 seconds left in the half.
Neither team scored in the third quarter with the Hornet defense holding the Griffons to just 15 yards on seven plays. Emporia State drove down to the Western four yard line to end the quarter and had the ball fourth and goal from the six to start the fourth. Braden Gleason, who started the second half at quarterback in relief of Cowan, was three for five for 65 yards on the drive before his fourth down pass to Seth Surface was ruled to be caught out of bounds on the first play of the fourth quarter.
The teams traded punts until Luke Theis hit a 50 yarder that bounced off the Hornets Travon Jones chest as he was trying to fair catch it at the Hornet eight yard line. Three plays later, and after a tackle for loss of six yards Steigerwald connected with Cooper Burton for a 14 yard touchdown and a 28-0 Griffon lead with 3:14 left. Emporia State would drive down to the Western 15 yard line but Gleason’s last pass was intercepted by Drew Sachen to end the threat.
Braden Gleason went 10 of 18 for 122 yards with an interception and added 45 rushing yards on 12 carries. Jordan Birch was the top ground gainer for the Hornets with 46 yards on six carries. Gee Stanley had ten tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss while Lawson Holbert had nine solo stops, a forced fumble and fumble recovery.
It is now Washburn Week for Emporia State as the Hornets return to Jones Field at Welch Stadium to take on the Ichabods next Saturday. Kick-off is set for 2:00 p.m. on Salute to Service Day in Emporia.