(Fort Scott Community College photo)
Odds are the Greyhounds won't appear in the new NJCAA football poll that's expected to be released sometime this afternoon and their aspirations for a national title in 2010 have come to an end.
Now it's a matter of righting a ship helmed by players who are relatively inexperienced and potting a course to finish as high as possible in the Jayhawk Conference standings so that they can keep a chance of winning maybe a share of the conference title or stepping up in the playoffs and claiming a second straight Region VI championship.
According to head coach Jeff Sims, that starts with the coaching staff.
"We need to go back to coaching like we did our first year here (2007) instead of coaching like we did last year," Sims said after the game Saturday. "Last year, we had guys who played 20-23 games (at FSCC) and maybe you had to tell those guys something twice. With a young group, you have to tell those guys 5, 6, 7, 8 times."
The question, according to Sims, isn't whether the players can do the job. Rather, it's whether the coaches have been putting them into the position to do their jobs right.
"We start with me," Sims said. "I have to do a better job. The score was 49-7 and we've lost 55-42. That's a coaching problem. I'll be at work at 6 o'clock in the morning and we'll try to figure out what's going on.
"In coaching, it's well-known you either coach it or you allow it to happen. The mistakes that are happening out on the field, we're either making a mistake in how we're coaching it or we're not coaching enough. These are a lot of young guys out there. We need, as coaches, to take responsibility to put them into position to win football games and play their best. Obviously, two weeks in a row, I haven't put this team in the best position to play well."
Butler quarterback Zach Mettenberger, a transfer from the University of Georgia, threw three touchdown passes in the first half, the first a 30-yarder to Brett Soft with exactly three minutes left in the first quarter.
The next two scoring passes went to receiver Marcus Kennard, who undressed Fort Scott's cornerbacks. The first was an 18-yard pass placed where only he could catch it in the left front corner of the end zone with 9:26 left in the second. The second came on the first play after a Greyhound punt as Kennard streaked down the right sideline on a 57-yard connection with 3:38 remaining to make it 21-0.
For the second consecutive week, Fort Scott had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown. Tyrell Miller blocked it and Zach Miller fell on it in the end zone with 3:14 left in the half to extend Butler's lead to 28-0.
Fort Scott's only score was quarterback Blaine Dalton's 1-yard quarterback sneak with one second left in the half. A Butler personal foul and a pass interference call helped the Greyhounds move the ball on that drive.
Butler (1-0 Jayhawk, 2-0 overall) scored quickly to start the second half. Kendall Wrenn brought the opening kickoff 27 yards to the Butler 49. Mettenberger found fullback Cody Mills for 37 yards on the first play to the Fort Scott 14. Starting tailback Ben Axon found 11 yards on the next play to set up Mettenberger's fourth TD pass, this to Wilson with 13:55 on the clock.
Zach Miller's interception at the Butler 20 midway through the quarter set up Butler's next score, which was Kennard's third touchdown grab of the day in the back of the end zone from 42 yards out with 4:04 left in the third to make it 42-7.
Wilson took a direct snap in for the final score of the game from 9 yards out with 1:09 left in the third.
Fort Scott did get into Butler territory on four of its six second-half possessions but couldn't get into the end zone again.
Mettenberger completed 15 of 26 passes for 308 yards becoming just the second quarterback to throw for over 300 yards against a Sims-coached defense and the first one to do so in a victory. Kennard caught 5 of those passes for 126 yards.
Butler had 448 yards in total offense. The Grizzlies ran the ball 24 times for 140 yards, an average of 5.8 yards per carry. Fort Scott had 118 yards on 59 rushes, which was just a 2.0-yard average.
Dalton completed 13 of 21 passes for the 'Hounds but finished with just 92 yards. Malcom Moulton caught 5 passes for 40 yards and Donny Madison caught 5 for 26.
Nick Woods rushed for 81 yards on 28 carries, 2.9 yards per carry. Back-to-back third-quarter carries produced 32 of those yards.
"Nick Woods is a guy I'm (not) concerned about," Sims said. "When we're out there at practice and no one's there seeing what's going on, he's working extremely hard and he earned the right to be out there. I don't know when I watch the films and we start listing our problems, that Nick Woods is going to be one of the problems. He's working very hard. I just wish we could do a better job in some other areas to help him out."
Butler's defense would be the cause of most problems Woods had. There weren't many holes for him to run through and the Grizzlies also had Dalton scrambling more than he would probably like.
Fort Scott will be at home again Saturday as the 'Hounds look to get back on the winning track. Including last season's Citizens Bank Bowl, FSCC is on a three-game losing streak which is the longest it's had since the 24-game streak was broken in early 2006.
There seem to be many things Sims will look at in order to get the 'Hounds ready to face Independence (0-1, 0-2) for a 1 p.m. Saturday kickoff.
"I'll be honest, I don't think it's fair to single anybody out," Sims said. "When we (play poorly), there is more than one problem and when there's more than one problem, that falls into coaching. The areas that I'm looking at fixing are .... I'm going to be looking at our substitutions, who we have in the game. Are we maximizing those players' opportunties? Do we have the right people on the field? Are we hoping that someone can make a play when there's a guy on the sidelines who we know will line up right and do the things he needs to do? I'm going to check and make sure that our schemes are sound. There were some things going on today that where Butler players were running free. I don't think our players were out there purposely missing their blocks or not covering the right guy, so that means we're not spending enough time with those guys."
NOTES -- This was Fort Scott's first regular-season loss at home (14-1) under Sims. It was Fort Scott's first home loss to Butler since 2006, partly due to a conference rotation shift that had FSCC playing at Butler in 2007 and 2008 before beating the Grizzlies twice at home last year....
The 7 points scored were the fewest by the 'Hounds since a 24-7 loss at Butler in 2008. The 49 allowed in a conference game was the most allowed to a KJCCC team since a 45-8 loss at Butler in 2007 and the most allowed to any opponent at home since Northeastern Oklahoma A&M scored 63 on Sept. 10, 2005....
Fort Scott has allowed 104 points in its first two games, the most in any consecutive games since allowing 121 to Butler on back-to-back weekends in 2004 -- 62 in the final game of the regular season and 59 in the first-round playoff match-up the following week....
The 'Hounds have gained 185 yards rushing the first two games of the season. In the first two games last season, they gained 515 yards on the ground and they had 347 on the ground in the first two games of the 2008 season. However, Dalton's 355 passing yards is more than Fort Scott had in the first two games of either season (214 last year, 292 in 2008)....
Coffeyville's Andy Summerlin threw for 318 yards on 26-of-39 passing in last year's meeting but the Greyhounds won that game 37-20....
The 55 points Blinn scored in the opener was the most FSCC had allowed in a season opener since Garden City took a 63-13 victory in the first game of the 1999 season....