Those obstacles have been cleared and some have been plowed under as the he 2009 Jayhawk Conference champions find themselves ranked No. 2 nationally.
New defensive coordinator James Lott took over a defensive unit that brought back two returning starters from the 2008 defensive squad that gave up an average of 196 yards per contest, fourth best in the NJCAA.
Lott, along with assistant defensive line coach Sean Cherico, linebackers coach Garrett Cox, and secondary coach Todd Worley have done what some thought was not feasible: Follow up the 2008 unit's performance with an outstanding performance of its own.
The Greyhounds' defense has held their opponents to 15.1 points per game and has given up on average 1.8 touchdowns per contest to their opponents in 2009.
But it is when the spotlight is at its brightest, Fort Scott's defense comes alive even more.
Against two of the top teams in the Jayhawk Conference -- and in the country -- the defense took over. In Week 4, Hutchinson came into Fort Scott with an undefeated record and a high-powered offense. But the Blue Dragons limped back to Hutchinson with a goose egg on their side of the scoreboard as Fort Scott won the game, 31-0
Fort Scott's defense held the Blue Dragon running attack to 240 yards less than their per-game average and forced them into four key turnovers that led to Greyhound points.
Last week, in the game that determined the Jayhawk Conference regular season against Butler, the defense showed just which team deserved the championship by holding the Grizzlies to 20 points under their season average. Fort Scott won the contest 14-10.
Butler coughed the ball up four times and its offense was held to 290 yards of total offense. Coming into the contest the Grizzlies were averaging 373 yards per contest.
Turnovers played a key role in both victories and the 'Hounds are familiar with stealing the ball away from their opponents. They are leading Jayhawk Conference in turnover margin by averaging 2.3 takeaways a game. The 'Hounds have forced 14 fumbles and have intercepted seven passes this season.
Last year, the Greyhounds had five shutouts. This season the Greyhounds have posted just two shutouts but have held their opposition scoreless in 19 out of 36 quarters played.
Opponents are finding it hard to score early on the Greyhounds as they have only managed 13 total points in the first quarter in the first nine games. The 'Hounds have given up 41 points in each of the other three quarters this season.
As a team, the 'Hounds have 82 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for 317 yards lost.
Returning starter and preseason All-American linebacker, LaVonte David, leads the way for the Greyhounds in tackles with 86 and in tackles for loss with 16.5. David also has three interceptions with one returned for a score.
Defensive Back Jamel Johnson is second on the team in tackles with 57 and has forced three fumbles this season. Johnson also has recovered two fumbles.
Sophomore defensive end Zach Bowers, a returning starter from 2008, leads the team in sacks with six. Bowers also has 34 tackles.
True freshman defensive end Frank Bryant leads the defense in forced fumbles with six.
Freshman defensive back Dennis Herbin leads the squad in interceptions with five picks, four of which came in Week 7 against Highland.
Defensive linemen Byron Jerideau and Anthony White have 103 tackles combined with 21 of them coming behind the line of scrimmage.
The defense will look to turn it up a notch again as they face Hutchinson in the first round of the 2009 Region VI playoffs this Sunday afternoon. Game time is set for 1:30 at Frary Field.