ALTAMONT, Kan. -- Fort Scott High School head coach Bob Campbell's return to the sidelines fell just short of a victory here Friday night as Labette County held on for a 26-24 win in both teams' season opener.
The Tigers made it to the Labette County 16-yard line with two seconds remaining and called time out to set up a 32-yard field-goal attempt by Griffin Knopp. LCHS broke through the line and possibly got a hand on the attempt to preserve the victory.
It was clear both teams had things to work out as 25 penalties were called in the contest. What ultimately cost the Tigers was that they allowed too many big plays to the Grizzlies.
Fort Scott scored first as quarterback Trevor Swim hit Griffin Knopp on a 59-yard pass play with 6:20 remaining in the first quarter. The extra point was unsuccessful.
Labette County, however, struck back on the first play after the kickoff as its quarterback, Keaton Turner, found Christian Hosey for a 79-yard scoring play just 23 seconds later. Trevor Nash made the extra-point kick to put the Grizzlies up 7-6.
Fort Scott reclaimed the leas when Swim scored at the end of the next possession on a 2-yard keeper. The Tigers tried a two-point conversion but failed, which left the score at 12-7 with 3:18 on the clock.
The torrid scoring pace continued as LCHS came right back and scored on the first play of the second quarter with Turner finding Mitchell Smith on an 8-yard play. Nash's PAT kick put LC up 14-12.
Turner threw his third touchdown pass of the night later in the quarter when he found Christian Hosey on a 35-yard pass with 6:47 left in the half to make it 20-12. However, LCHS was penalized for excessive celebration and couldn't make a two-point conversion play that had to be run from the 17-yard line.
Knopp and Swim connected on an 8-yard scoring pass with 57 seconds left in the half. The Tigers went for two again and didn't succeed, so they trailed 20-18.
Turner's score on a 41-yard option keeper with 10:40 left in the third boosted the Grizzlies' lead to 26-18 as the two-point conversion failed.
Fort Scott's final score came after the Tigers took advantage of an opportunity LCHS gave them on a fourth-down penalty. The Grizzlies jumped offside on a fourth-and-7 play from the LCHS 49. The Tigers decided to go for it on the fourth-and-2 that came up as a result and converted when Jaret Thorpe gained exactly 2 yards.
A LCHS pass interference penalty also aided the Tigers as they got the ball in position for Swim's third TD pass, a 5-yarder to Thorpe on the first play of the fourth quarter. This time the Tigers tried to run for two points but could not make it.
The Tigers went for it on a fourth-and-2 from their own 42 with 3:39 remaining but the Grizzlies' defense stood firm and denied a running play. But Fort Scott's defense was able to force a punt and give the offense another shot with 58 seconds to go.
Thrope converted a fourth-and-5 from the Fort Scott 43 by gaining 9 yards. Swim spiked the ball to stop the clock with 17 seconds to go.
Swim found Knopp for 37 yards to the LCHS 11 with under 10 seconds to go. The Tigers committed illegal procedure on the next play, but it stopped the clock and allowed Swim a chance to spike the ball with two seconds left to set up the field-goal try.
Swim recorded the second 200-yard passing game of his high-school career -- and the fifth by any Fort Scott player since the 2000 season -- as he completed 10 of 23 passes for 201 yards and the three touchdowns. Knopp caught 6 of those for 149 yards.
Turner completed 7 of 13 passes for 186 yards and was picked off once. That interception was by Knopp. Hosey caught 2 passes for 114 yards.
The Tigers outgained the Grizzlies 335 yards to 300. Thorpe rushed for 79 yards on 18 carries to lead Fort Scott, which had 134 total rushing yards to 114 for LCHS.
The Tiger defense held the Grizzlies to 60 total yards in the second half, 50 on the ground.
Fort Scott will play its first home game next Friday as Coffeyville will visit Frary Field. This will be the first game between the league schools since 2007 as there wasn't room on the schedule for them to face each other the past two seasons. The Golden Tornado lost to Pittsburg 33-27 Friday night in Coffeyville.
NOTES -- Independence opened its season with a 61-51 home win over Iola that set three Southeast Kansas League records: Most combined points (112), most points allowed in a victory (by Indy) and most points scored in defeat (by Iola)....
In other SEK games, Chanute defeated McDonald County, 38-7, even though the visiting Mustangs had already played a game, and Columbus won another shootout over Parsons, 47-36....
FSHS alum Mat Casner, through his company, Redlogic, and with the cooperation of KOMB, is offering streaming audio of Tiger games through a link he has created, http://www.ustream.tv/channel/tiger-foot.... The site also keeps a copy of the game in an archive, so fans who missed it can still enjoy the game from the pre-game to the post-game shows....