(18) during the first quarter of the Citizens Bank Bowl at Pittsburg Sunday. Fondren led the Greyhounds' receiver with 4 receptions for 48 yards.(Kenny Felt/Captured Images)
This came after the Greyhounds (11-1) scored 26 unanswered points after Blinn (11-1) had claimed a 10-0 lead.
The game-winning score came on Chad Froechtenicht's 84-yard punt return with 15.4 seconds remaining in the contest.
"I just talked to them and I told them, 'This is life'," FSCC head coach Jeff Sims said. "But I dare someone to tell those guys that they don't have anything to be proud of."
The 'Hounds got themselves into position for a Hail Mary pass when they used a couple of laterals on the ensuing kickoff to get to the Blinn 44-yard line. Quarterback Dominque Davis threw the ball into the end zone but Blinn's Darrin Moore got position and batted it down as the clock expired.
Blinn ends the season with the No. 1 ranking. The NJCAA voters put Fort Scott at No. 2 with Navarro (Texas) third.
"I thought we were going to have a national championship when we got here today," Sims said. "And I thought it when we ran the Hail Mary."
Blinn dominated the fourth quarter statistically, outgaining Fort Scott 112 yards to 23. The Buccaneer defense held the 'Hounds without a first down in the fourth quarter.
"This game's the epitome of this team and this season," Blinn head coach Brad Franchione said. "It just goes to show that if you keep fighting, things will go your way. But that play is a fitting way to end this season."
Blinn went in front first when quarterback Cam Newton scrambled around the right side for a touchdown with 9:07 to go in the first quarter. The Bucs forced a fumble and recovered it on the first play of Fort Scott's next possession. That resulted in Billy Greer's 32-yard field goal with 6:27 left to make it 10-0.
Dominique Davis scored Fort Scott's first two touchdowns on 1-yard quarterback sneaks, the first with 2:15 left in the first and the other with 13:29 on the clock in the second. The second TD was set up by a Jamel Johnson interception return.
Fort Scott's lead grew to 16-0 when the snap went over Jarod Jaroszewski's head in punt formation and he had to go back to make sure that the 'Hounds didn't turn it into a touchdown by knocking it out of the back of the end zone for a safety with 11:26 to go in the second.
Kyle Ericson's 35-yard field goal with 6:17 to go increased the lead to 19-10.
Blinn got the first possession of the second half but Frank Bryant stripped the ball from running back Mike Hayes and Omar Leftwich recovered for the 'Hounds. Three plays later, Davis ran the ball around the left side on a wide-open bootleg from 19 yards out to make it 26-10.
The momentum shifted on Fort Scott's next possession when Blinn's Gadrian Muse intercepted Davis at the 2-yard line and ran it back to the Blinn 26.
Newton guided the Bucs downfield, getting them to the 14-yard line, where he pitched to Hayes around the left side for a touchdown with 6:21 to go. The Bucs went for two and ran the same play for the conversion, bringing them within 26-18 with 6:21 left in the third.
Fort Scott's offense began to struggle after that. The Greyhounds' last first down came on the last play of the third quarter and they were able to rush for just 6 yards in the fourth.
Newton brought Blinn within 2 points when he ran in from 9 yards out with 7:35 remaining. The Bucs went for 2 points to tie it but Andre Clarke stopped Newton on a run to leave the score 26-24 with 2:23 to go.
"At no point did I feel the game was over," Newton said in the post-game press conference. "This team is resilient. We find ways. I know some way or another things are going to turn in our favor. Fort Scott had the momentum all through the game and we were just trying to get a little spark to start a forest fire."
Jasmin Hopkins, who led all rushers with 210 yards on 36 carries and was named the game's Most Outstanding Offensive player, had trouble finding space on Fort Scott's last possession. He was tackled for a 6-yard loss on third-and-5.
"I thought we had more opportunities to score," Sims said. "It would have been nice to get another first down but it's hard to grind it hen they know you're going to run it."
Sims said he noticed Blinn was taking time setting up its punt return team and got his punting unit out to try and catch the Bucs off guard.
"I saw them having trouble getting personnel on, so I rushed the punt," Sims said. "That's my fault and for the record, I made a mistake."
Both teams had over 300 yards in total offense. Fort Scott rushed for 251 yards on 55 carries. Blinn gained 189 yards rushing and 116 passing.
Hayes finished with 111 yards on 20 carries when Newton had 102 yards on 13 carries and completed 11 of 25 passes for 111 yards.
Davis went 6 of 12 for 61 yards. C.J. Fondren, a Pittsbburg High School graduate, caught 4 passes for 48 yards.
FSCC linebacker LaVonte David was named the game's Most Outstanding Defensive Player.