Craw-Kan Southeast Kansas Team of the Week: After rare 0-2 start, Pittsburg football with three straight wins

Pittsburg has won three straight games and stands at 3-2.


Pittsburg opened the fall 0-2 with an overtime three-point home loss to Emporia and a 15-point defeat to Chanute.

Chanute is ranked No. 4 in 4A and is off to its best start since 1935, per Kansas Football History. This marked the first 0-2 start for the traditionally strong Purple Dragons since 1967.

Since then, the Purple Dragons have delivered three straight victories: 28-20 at home versus Labette County, 34-8 at Fort Scott and 20-14 at Paola.

Pittsburg is 15-0 against Labette County since 2004, and 16-1 against Fort Scott in the last 17 meetings. Pittsburg and Paola played each other for the first occasion in 11 falls, via MaxPreps archives. Pittsburg ended a three-game losing streak in the series and defeated Paola for the first time since ’05.

Currently, there are 17 Class 5A/6A teams with a 3-2 mark, per the KPreps database. Pittsburg, 6A Wichita Heights and 5A Great Bend are the lone teams to open 0-2 and now stand at 3-2.

All of Pittsburg’s offensive yards, except for one catch, have come from non-seniors.

Pittsburg has new coach Josh Lattimer. He took over after Tom Nickelson led the program. Lattimer excelled in high school at Fort Scott. He won three state titles his senior year at FS, in football, wrestling and javelin. Lattimer was a two-time All-American linebacker at Pittsburg State and two-time national qualifier for PSU in the javelin.

Lattimer coached at Pittsburg State, Hutchinson Community College, Fort Scott High School, Ellsworth Community College, and served a four-year stint as the defensive coordinator at Division II Northeastern State.

Lattimer then was the Pittsburg State’s defensive line coach from ’17-20 before he became the strength coach at Pittsburg High in May 2021. Lattimer earned the head coaching position in March 2022. He is the fourth Pittsburg head coach since 1965.

Junior Wyatt Rink has 42 carries for 259 yards and a score. Sophomore Stone Peery has delivered 24 rushes for 200 yards and two TDs. Junior Grant O’Doherty has 24 rushes for 151 yards and two scores.

Pittsburg is at Independence (1-4) before home games against Smithville (Mo.) and struggling Wichita North. The Paola victory was a quality win against a traditional power and puts Pittsburg in a strong position for a winning record.

Pittsburg has never won fewer than four games in a fall since 1967. Pittsburg went 4-5 in ’19 and ’20 before a 6-4 mark last fall.

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