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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Anderson County puts end to Fort Scott's playoff hopes

Saturday, October 24, 2009

FORT SCOTT -- All there is now for the Fort Scott Tigers is pride. There will be no playoff games for them in 2009.

Although there was some good play and a lead at the end of the first quarter, the Tigers were unable to hold on and lost to Anderson County, 41-13, in Kansas Class 4A District 6 play at Frary Field Friday night. The Bulldogs scored 20 points off Tiger turnovers.

In order to make the playoffs, the Tigers had to win this game and also win next week at Chanute. They don't even get to play spoiler at Chanute Thursday night to end the regular season as the Blue Comets clinched a playoff spot with a 34-13 victory over Iola.

But what the Tigers will have is a chance to do something usually reserved for the State champion: They can win their last game of the season and go out on a high note.

"We've played Chanute well," Fort Scott head coach Don Epps said. "We were in the same situation last year. They came to our place and we played them hard. We played them all the way until the fourth quarter. This won't be any different. By the end of the game Thursday night, everything you want to get accomplished, you'd better get it done on the field."

Chris Archie put the Tigers (0-2 district, 1-7 overall) on the board first when he scored on a 20-yard run one play after Fort Scott recovered an Anderson County fumble. Griffin Knopp's extra-point kick made it a 7-0 contest with 8:43 left in the first quarter.

The Tigers stopped Anderson County's next drive when Denzel Davis and Tony Jackson sacked Bulldog quarterback Galen Ryman on a third-and-9 play from the Fort Scott 33, forcing a punt.

That punt pinned Fort Scott back at its own 4 and they couldn't get out of the hole before punting themselves. Chase Whitcomb returned the kick to the Fort Scott 14. Two plays later, Cody Chambers scored for the Bulldogs (1-1, 6-2) on a 10-yard run but the extra point failed, leaving it 7-6 with 1:19 left in the first.

The Bulldogs took advantage of a Fort Scott fumble to take the lead with 9:45 to go in the half on Joseph Whittman's 17-yard run. This time, ACHS tried to go for two points but failed. But they were in front 12-7.

The Tigers gave themselves a chance to take the lead back late in the half. Ryman was sacked on a play in Fort Scott territory and fumbled. Drew Bryant recovered the ball for the Tigers and advanced it to the Anderson County 31. But the ensuing drive stalled at the 17 when there was a fumble on fourth down.

The Bulldogs took over there and moved the ball. Wittman broke away for 42 yards on the fourth play of the drive to get the ball to the Fort Scott 28 with under a minute and a half to go. On fourth-and-7 from the 25, Ryman connected with tight end Thomas Mudd for a touchdown, then ran in the two-point conversion himself to make it 20-7 with 46 seconds left.

Ryman intercepted a pass on the first play of the Tigers' next drive, giving the Bulldogs the ball at the Fort Scott 46 with 32 seconds to go. Five plays later, he connected with receiver Matt Walters on a 7-yard scoring pass with 1 second to go, making it 26-7. The two-point conversion failed.

"You can't give up those big momentum-swingers," Fort Scott head coach Don Epps said. "We were trying to move the ball before halftime. We took a chance and got it intercepted and they turned it into points. I wouldn't change a thing. We were trying to be aggressive and win the ball game."

Anderson County had 205 yards of total offense at the half. They gained 129 of those on their last two scoring drives.

The Bulldogs recovered another fumble at their own 46 midway through the third quarter and scored off that. They handed the ball to Eric Pretzer on seven of the eight plays on the drive, including the last one for a 2-yard TD run with 4:35 left in the period. Ryman ran in another two-point conversion to make it 34-7.

"We felt getting a win tonight was an attainable goal," Fort Scott head coach Don Epps said. "And we got out to a good start and scored early. But they got some momentum and we didn't respond. That's very discouraging."

Fort Scott put together a well-run scoring drive after the Pretzer score. The 16-play, 75-yard drive culminated in Jaret Thorpe's 1-yard scoring run with 9:56 left in the contest. Anderson County responded by going on a long drive of its own. Alen Troyer's 16-yard TD run with 3:35 left capped a 12-play, 65-yard drive.

The Tigers were able to advance to Anderson County's 22 with their final possession but turned the ball over on downs with 3 seconds remaining.

"I challenged our kids to play hard and play with character in the second half," Fort Scott head coach Don Epps said. "You just have to do your job and play your heart out. We started moving the ball a little bit better in the second half but it was too late."

Anderson County finished the game with 330 yards of offense, 248 on the ground. Wittman, who had already rushed for 1,100 yards this season, finished with 99 on 14 carries. Ryman completed 8 of 12 passes for 82 yards.

Fort Scott had 195 total yards, 116 rushing. Archie finished with 95 yards on 15 carries. Sophomore quarterback Luke Brown completed 5 of 8 passes in the second half for 63 yards. Josh Hawkins had 2 catches for 30 yards and Knopp caught two passes for 28 yards.

The Tigers travel to Chanute next Thursday. Although the Blue Comets (6-1 SEK, 7-1 overall) are in the playoffs, no matter what, they still need a victory to win the Southeast Kansas League title outright. A loss would drop them into a tie with Columbus (6-2, 6-2), which plays Girard in a non-league game.

Anderson County will go to Iola (1-1 district, 3-5 overall), which lost to Chanute 34-13 after getting within 14-13 in the second quarter. The winner of that game gets into the playoffs. The loser's season comes to an end.

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I am an avid Fort Scott high school sports fan and I must say that I was very disappointed in the 2009 football season. I think the kids played hard and would have been able to compete with every team, but they were not given the chance. I certainly hope the kids do not have to endure another season like they had this year. Changes should have been made last year, but they definately need made after this year.

On a good note, now it is time for Basketball!!!

-- Posted by FS Sports Fan on Mon, Oct 26, 2009, at 4:21 PM

So, FS Sports Fan, what changes do you think need to be made?

-- Posted by fattiger on Tue, Oct 27, 2009, at 6:01 AM

the truth is that the Tigers have some good players, just not enough of them

-- Posted by brandonx1 on Tue, Oct 27, 2009, at 3:21 PM

For once I agree with you.

-- Posted by fattiger on Tue, Oct 27, 2009, at 5:19 PM

The team may not stink, but then you will have a POS coaching it!

-- Posted by ??????? on Thu, Oct 29, 2009, at 6:58 AM

The number of "good players" living in Fort Scott has not gone down, just the number going out for the football team. This usually means that those players do not respect the coaching philosophy. A good coach can take a highly motivated player with average talent and make him into an excellent player. A good coach should be able to develop talent instead of losing numbers of players.

There are reasons why a team goes from a dominate state champion contender each year where kids are excited and anticipate what the next year has to offer to a team that has deminishing numbers turning out with kids who are worried about getting hurt because they are not coached on proper techniques.

In any high school athletic season, you should never blame the kids for not being good enough. They are doing what they can with what they are being trained!!! A player is only as good as his or her coach.

-- Posted by FS Sports Fan on Thu, Oct 29, 2009, at 9:15 AM

As a mother of a FSHS football player, let me tell you the problem is coaching. Epps does not require weight training like all of the other area schools do. Weight training is optional during the summer months and none is done at all during the season. These kids are not being taught basics that are needed. All you need to do is see the freshman game against Pittsburg last Monday to see that. A hit on a player that called for a fair catch resulting in penalty yards...Why don't our kids know what a fair catch is? The freshman class has a lot of talent, but if we don't get better staff, all hope is lost.

-- Posted by FSMOM on Thu, Oct 29, 2009, at 1:07 PM

I understand that we as a town are not used to the way the football team has performed this season. But this is not professional football, or even a high profile college program. When kids on the team see that there parents are calling out the coaches and telling everyone in town that they stink and need to be replaced, we are doomed from the start! How do you expect the kids to respect a coach if mom and dad say they are not any good! I don't understand how you can have all but one member of the coaching staff play football in college, and claim that they do not know "proper technique." They do! I have coached several sport teams, some have a lot of talent and some do not. I have talked until I was blue in the face about how to do things right, and have demonstrated proper technique to them several times, and in the game they do not do it how it was taught! I am not bashing on the players, but you have to understand that some teams are more talented than others. As for the "Why don't our kids know what a fair catch is?" If kids today would watch a stinking football game on TV they would know what a fair catch is. Kids today are not students of the game. They have "better things to do" than get better and work out on their own. If a coach has to be on top of them pushing them all the time, then they will not be successful anyway. Coaches today have to teach the players things that they did not have to teach 10 years ago, like, the fair catch. Kids used to just know that because that is all they did in their spare time is play sports. Now coaches have to teach so much more with less time. Especially in football, since they are limited in the time they can practice, especially in the early months of the season when it is hot.

You could line up any of the tiger teams from 1996 to 2004 against the teams of the last two years and it would not even be a game, and it is not because of the coaching, it is the talent. You can not "develop talent" from kids with no athletic ability. Developing talent comes from seeing a kid with a lot of ability and teaching them the proper technique so they can do the job better. You can not take a kid that is not very athletic and make them a good athlete. Walk in the hallway of any good sized high school and you would think that the school would have an awesome football team by looking at the kids in the school. And then go ask the coaches if they play football. I would say that half of the kids that could make the team better don't come out for the team. They don't come out for the team because they don't like the coaches, ( which is never a reason not to play a sport, if you want to play a sport bad enough, you play regardless of who is coaching) it is because it is hard work. It is not easy to go to practice everyday after school. When it is really hot early on, or really cold and wet in the later part of the season. They don't want to put the effort forth to go out and loose. I know what you are saying, "thats why no one comes out because they loose all their games." THEY WOULD NOT LOOSE ALL THIER GAMES IF EVERY ATHLETE IN THE SCHOOL WAS ON THE TEAM!

Another thing, the "Weight training" issue is a huge problem with the tiger program, but it is not the coaches fault. It is the schools fault. Every school in the league has a weights program during the school day, usually the football coach is the one that teaches it. WE DON'T HAVE THAT! Talk to you school board if you want to complain about that. DON'T PUT IT ON THE COACHES.

-- Posted by 1niner on Thu, Oct 29, 2009, at 4:02 PM

As far as the weight training programs, you are dead wrong. I have friends with kids in both Pittsburg and at Colgan and weight training starts at 6 am in the morning and it is NOT optional. You don't come you don't play. PERIOD. Maybe the coach should tell the kids that it is REQUIRED to come to conditioning or you don't play. BUT I suppose that is the fault of the kids too...wouldn't want to put any responsibility on Epps.

-- Posted by FSMOM on Thu, Oct 29, 2009, at 8:27 PM

So you are telling me that at both Pittsburg High and Colgan, the whole football team comes in every morning at 6 and lifts weights, or they do not play? I am talking about a weights class, that takes the place of a PE class in school. I have a hard time realizing that both of those schools have 50+ kids come in every morning to lift weights, and if you miss one you do not play. The coaches might say that, but kids have so much going on now a days that they can not be expected to come in every day. Usually there is a percent of them that you must show up to, or you have to run and make up for the time missed when the season starts before you can play. That is why every other school has weights during the school day. If you are talking about in the summer, then yes, Fort Scott has had that also for many many years. It might have been optional these last few years, but if they would have made it mandatory or you don't play, then they would not have enough for a team. In the summer, kids have many things going on with the opening up of the coaches can work with their kids year round rule. I know several kids this summer that went to weights at 6, went to basketball work outs at 9, then went to work, and then played two baseball games that night, and didn't get home until midnight. And then were expected to get up and do it all over again the next day. That is to much for a high school kid. They will get burnt out on everything. What the difference is in Pitt/Colgan weights program and ours I do not know.

If you are a mother of a player, I am sure that you have been to all the games. All you have to do is look at the difference in build and stature of our team, and the other teams we are playing, and you can tell a difference. That is why we can not give the kids an option. Have a weights class during school, and then they will have to receive a grade for it. They will also be lifting the whole year, and not just two months in the summer. The difference I am talking about in stature is not the result of two months in the summer. It is the class during school that makes them do it, year round. It helps athletes in every sport.

I understand that if a team does not win then it is reflected on the coach. As a coach myself I would never directly blame the players, and that is not what I was trying to do with my comments earlier. But you do have to take into account for talent. There have been several terrible coaches in the history of sports that have won a lot of games, maybe even championships, and it is because of talent, not how they coach.

Last thing, I am not defending the system that is in place with the football team. But to call out all the coaches and say that they are not teaching proper technique, and no kid wants to play football because they think they will get hurt if they play football is a shot at every person on the coaching staff. I think that they have proven that they know the game of football and proper technique, or they would have not been given college scholarships to play the game.

-- Posted by 1niner on Fri, Oct 30, 2009, at 8:25 AM

It is a very sad day when the coaches of our children, the ones who are expected to be mentors, are saying that the kids have no talent or ability. This will devastate the program faster than anything. You will not get any kids to go out for sports if they feel that the coaching staff believe that they have no athletic ability. Why go out if the coach already believes that you can't play.

I too have coached organized sports in the summer and you are right that it is hot and hard work, but if the practices are done right, they will have more fun in practice than in the games. I would have 10 times more practices than games and I had kids wanting to practice more. They did not have the greatest ability, but they had desire. A good coach can take desire and make it into a good athlete.

As far as the weight training program, I can believe that we do not require the kids to get stronger. That is evident in the inability to lockup a tackle and finish it. This should not be a class in our kids education, it should be a requirement of the coaches and the players if they want to play. This might mean that both the coaches and players may have to give a litle more, but that is what a well coached team does to succeed.

I commend the players who went out and gave what they had. Hopefully, we will have a better season next year.

-- Posted by FS Sports Fan on Fri, Oct 30, 2009, at 8:48 AM

nobody...and i mean nobody works harder than don epps.......he is a hell of a coach and a hell of a teacher...and if you do not realize then you are, of course, a moron who knows nothing about the game of football

-- Posted by brandonx1 on Fri, Oct 30, 2009, at 8:59 AM

Here's my take on the state of the Fort Scott football program. 1) You practice like you play. Our players are not allowed to tackle during practice. This I do not understand. It's football. I'm ok with protecting the quarterbacks with a no tackle policy, but not tackling in practices leads to arm tackles, lack of proper technique, and tackling high which is what you see at every Fort Scott football game. When I played we finished every practice with the "Oklahoma Drill". It built character, proper tackling and blocking technique, and a desire to succeed. I bet Fort Scott was out rushed this year 2 to 1. Which leads to my second point. Strengh! I understand that some classes are more athletic, faster, and over all bigger kids then others. But champions today are built in the gym. We have become soft. No other way to put it. We've never had much of a weight training program. But if you want to compete today you had better put the work in the weight room first. The other schools have realized that to become champions it starts there. We may not have the size this year, but we also lack in overall strengh. Therefore we we were blown off the line consistently all year.

I do not believe school time between 8 and 3 is the time to be lifting weights. It needs to be organized every morning around 6:00am or after school. I would bet there is not one chart in our weight room charting progress of kids. Have the kids been evaluated and given set goals to meet monthly, are there ever weight training awards, demands, expectations etc.etc. I bet if you ask any of our recent alumni playing football at a higher level will agree that they are behind strengh wise when they get to the next level, because of a lack of expectations and an organized lifting program in high school.

Kids want to win and be champions. It take the kids, coaches, administration and parents to understand the sacrifices necessary.

I believe our kids have the desire, but not the tools in place to take them there.

-- Posted by Tigerdad2000 on Fri, Oct 30, 2009, at 11:13 AM

it dosen't matter if mr. epps is a good teacher or not. he lacks the desire and tools to be a motivational coach..hence that is why there is no weight training and thats why the kids are not weight training. It is the Coaching that needs to be fixed not the kids.

-- Posted by noshoesnoservice on Fri, Oct 30, 2009, at 1:21 PM


my comment is directed at good intentioned,but ill-informed folk like you, sir or madam

-- Posted by brandonx1 on Fri, Oct 30, 2009, at 3:16 PM

Good ole brandon with the inability to speak without using profanity and always to will to call someone else names. Intelligent post!

-- Posted by fattiger on Fri, Oct 30, 2009, at 5:34 PM

Good ole brandon with the inability to speak without using profanity and always the will to call someone else names. Intelligent post!

-- Posted by fattiger on Fri, Oct 30, 2009, at 5:35 PM

betting fatboy got a varsity letter for being the team towel manager

-- Posted by brandonx1 on Mon, Nov 2, 2009, at 11:26 AM

Four days to respond and that is the best you could come up with? Putting someone down again that you don't even know. So, what is wrong with being a manager? They are worth their weight (no pun intended) in gold. And what and when did you letter in?

-- Posted by fattiger on Mon, Nov 2, 2009, at 4:03 PM

brandonx1- If you truly think that Epps is the best thing for the school, you should seriously think again. I grew up during the BC era, going to football games was the best time I had ever had until the 2006 season started, and then the football team took a turn for the worst due to your beloved Epps. He is the absolute worst coach that is on the staff right now. If the school were to take away his coaching status and put someone else in place, I believe that we would all see a turn in the football program.

-- Posted by mb09 on Wed, Nov 4, 2009, at 6:11 PM

The football team performance has several variables. 1. the coaching staff 2. the players 3. the performance of the other teams. Is Epps the best coach or worst? Not sure, I do not play football, and did not play for him. Epps is a great guy and as a person should not be "grilled" in a public forum. The team can only be as good as the staff trains, and coaches. The kids can only play with the tools they are given, and the training provided. To make a good team, the team and the staff has to perform at their best. It is unfortunate that this year all involved did not "mesh" to make it happen, but it is not 100% fair to place the blame on one person when several are activly involved, or like wise people should not place the blame on the team. Reguardless it is still just a game.

-- Posted by save our history on Fri, Nov 6, 2009, at 11:39 AM

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