GARDEN CITY -- Fort Scott Community College held a three-touchdown lead moments into the second half of a Jayhawk Conference game here Saturday night. But the eighth-ranked Greyhounds had to survive a rally led by Garden City's backup quarterback before holding on for a 45-35 victory over the Broncbusters.
Sophomore Jeff Hennick was inserted into the game midway through the third quarter after starter Ryan Howard threw his third interception of the night. Hennick completed his last seven passes of the game, with a 20-yard pass to Cameron Horesky and a subsequent two-point conversion throw to tight end Drew Frasier bringing the Busters within 38-35 with 8:52 left in the contest.
The 'Hounds (2-0 Jayhawk, 3-0 overall) responded with a 13-play, 74-yard drive which ate over six minutes off the clock. Jasmin Hopkins capped it by scoring his second touchdown of the night, this from 20 yards out, with 2:39 remaining.
The Busters took over and Hennick hit Avonte Jones on the first play of the drive. But he fumbled the ball and Fort Scott recovered with less than 2:20 remaining. The 'Hounds appeared ready to punt on fourth-and-3 from the Garden City 45 but instead, a direct snap went to upback Jamel Johnson, who made it all the way down to the 10-yard line with 1:53 left. The 'Hounds were able to run out the clock after that.
With this win, Fort Scott is 2-0 in the conference in part of a four-way tie for the top with No. 5 Butler (3-1 overall), No. 6 Hutchinson (3-0) and unranked Independence (2-1), which drew the bye week. Butler defeated Air Force Prep, 30-17, while Hutchinson routed Dodge City, 61-3.
Hutchinson visits Fort Scott Saturday for what will be a key game for both conference standings and national rankings. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Frary Field. Butler will host Coffeyville and Independence visits Garden City, which was ranked No. 22 in the pre-season poll but took its third straight loss to fall to 0-2, 1-3.
The Greyhounds gained 415 of their 501 total yards on the ground as Hopkins gained 282 yards on 38 carries, his second consecutive 200-yard game and a career high. Justin Woods added 79 yards on 25 carries.
The 'Hounds moved to the Garden City 30-yard line on their first possession but were unable to score. Luke Halsey kicked a 35-yard field goal at the end of the second possession to get Fort Scott on the board with 4:15 to go in the quarter.
Two Garden City 15-yard penalties aided the 'Hounds on the third possession. A facemask on the first play moved the ball out of the shadow of their own goal posts. An unnecessary roughness penalty two plays later moved the ball to the Greyhound 37. On the next play, Dominique Davis hit C.J. Fondren for a 63-yard scoring strike with 2:22 on the clock.
Chase Bieberle got Garden City on the scoreboard on a 44-yard run with 17 seconds left in the period. The Busters first two possessions had resulted in three-and-outs after gaining a total of 4 yards.
Garden City took the lead early in the second period. Howard, who started well, hit Jones on consecutive long passes, the first gaining 26 yards, the second going 34 for a touchdown with 10:51 to go that put the Busters ahead 14-10.
Hopkins scored from 61 yards out three plays after the kickoff to put the 'Hounds back on top, 17-14, with 9:41 left in the half. That run put his rushing total at 142 yards on 20 carries.
Derek Jonas' 44-yard field-goal attempt on the Busters' next possession went wide left. Hopkins gained 62 yards on the first play after the miss -- putting him over the 200-yard mark -- to get the ball to Gardens' 11. Two plays later, Woods scored on an 8-yard run to make it 24-14 with 5:47 left.
Jonas kicked a 41-yard field goal with 2:04 left to bring Garden within 24-17. After forcing a punt, Garden looked to score at the end of the half. Instead linebacker Lavonte David intercepted Howard and returned it 55 yards for a Fort Scott touchdown with 21 seconds to go.
The Busters managed to get to the Fort Scott 33 with one second to go but Howard was picked off by Donnell Jones to end the half.
The second half didn't start off well for the Busters. They advanced to the Greyhound 29 on the first drive of the third quarter but Bieberle fumbled and Omar Leftwich scooped it up and brought back 70 yards to the house to boost the Fort Scott lead to 38-17 just 2:15 into the half.
Johnson intercepted Howard on the third play of the next drive. But the 'Hounds couldn't capitalize despite moving to the Garden 37 before the defense stopped Hopkins on fourth-and-1. Jonas booted a 35-yard field goal to bring Garden within 38-20 with 9:08 on the clock.
A special teams error set up Garden City's next score. Fort Scott muffed a punt and Broncbuster lineman Jared Andrews recovered at the Greyhound 35.
Bieberle moved the ball to the 8 on two carries. Two plays later, Hennick hit Frasier on a 6-yard scoring pass to bring Garden City within 38-27 with 29 seconds left in the third period.
The two teams combined fort 47 first downs, 624 yards rushing and 984 yards of total offense. Fort Scott's halftime stats -- 252 rushing yards, 327 total -- would have made a pretty good final total.
Fort Scott averaged 6 yards per carry as it rushed the ball 69 times. Bieberle gained 172 yards on 17 carries for Garden City and Hennick ended up with 46 yards on 5 runs.
Hennick was 8-of-13 passing for 78 yards, completing his last 7 for 70 yards. Howard finished 14 of 28 for 196 yards. But he hit on just 4 of his last 12 attempts for 53 yards before he was pulled. Jones caught 10 passes for 138 yards and Horesky had 5 catches for 70 yards.
Davis started well under center for Fort Scott, hitting on 3 of his first 6 passes for 76 yards. But he had a 1-of-8, 11-yard finish. Fondren was the Greyhounds' leading receiver with 2 catches for 77 yards.
NOTES -- While the 45 points were the most scored by Fort Scott since scoring 55 on Garden City in a 2007 playoff game, the 35 allowed were the most since allowing 45 to Butler on Oct. 13 of that season....
Prior to Hopkins' 222-yard effort at Coffeyville two weeks ago, the last 200-yard game by a Greyhound came Sept. 22, 2007 when Rodney Lovett rushed for 284 yards in a victory at Dodge City. No Greyhound had rushed for over 200 yards on consecutive games in at least 15 years....
Hopkins became just the third Greyhound to have two 200-yard rushing games since 1996. Jason Graham had a 206-yard game versus Dodge City and a 332-yard performance versus Highland in 1997 games a month apart. Chris Brown, currently with the Houston Texans, had three games over over 200 yards in 2000. The first was for 200 even against Independence Sept. 23. Next was a 294-yard effort against Highland on Oct. 7. Then came a 214-yard night against Coffeyville on Oct. 29....
The 'Hounds had over 400 yards rushing for just the third time since 1996. Fort Scott gained 428 yards on the ground against Haskell in 1998 and had 413 yards against Highland in 1997....
Hutchinson had seven rushing and two defensive touchdowns in its victory at Dodge City. The Blue Dragons have scored 20 rushing touchdowns this season with seven different players finding the end zone. The margin of victory was Hutch's largest ever against Dodge City....
Both of Hutch's defensive TDs came from defensive back Matthew Pearson. He returned an interception in the third quarter and a fumble in the fourth....
The Butler-AFP game saw 29 penalties called for 280 yards. Prep was called 17 times for 161 yards. Butler quarterback Ross Dausin threw for 177 yards and two touchdowns but was also picked off two times. Running back Ricky Jacques ran for 153 yards and one score....