GARDEN CITY -- Fort Scott Community College's football team had a chance to take control of its own destiny in its quest to make the Region VI Playoffs here Saturday night. Instead Garden City defeated the Greyhounds for the first time in five years, 16-13.
Butler, Coffeyville and Hutchinson are all undefeated. Fort Scott and Garden City are two of four teams -- Highland and Independence are the others -- that are all 1-2 in conference play and fighting to be the fourth team in the playoffs.
It was a game in which both teams struggled to find any edge. The Greyhounds (1-3 overall) had trouble getting into Garden City territory. The Broncbusters (2-2) missed two first-half field-goal attempts.
T.J. Johnson's 69-yard punt return set up the only score of the first half, a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Buster quarterback Wes Winfrey with 9:26 to go in the second quarter.
The 'Hounds finally got decent field position late in the first half but came away with nothing to show for it after getting to the Garden City 12-yard line as time ran out.
The first four possessions of the second half -- two for each team -- were three-and-outs. Garden City got in range for another field goal on its third possession but David Gonzalez missed from 25 yards.
The 'Hounds looked as if they caught a break when defensive back Joe Williams picked up a loose ball on a bad option pitch and ran it into the end zone from 35 yards out with 3:35 left in the third. But Drew Russell's extra-point kick was blocked and Garden's Terry Perkins picked up the ball and ran it back for a "defensive conversion," worth 2 points.
The ability for the defense to return a botched conversion attempt exists only in college and in all the years the rule has existed, this was just the third time it's happened in an FSCC game. Instead of a 7-7 tie and maybe the 'Hounds gaining some momentum, Garden City led 9-6.
The Broncbusters put some salt in that wound by controlling the ball after the kickoff for 13 plays, 9 of which were Keion Wade runs. His last one was a 7-yard touchdown run behind his left guard with 11:25 on the clock in the fourth quarter. Gonzalez's conversion made it 16-6.
The 'Hounds were able to advance to the Buster 15 on the next possession but back-to-back sacks brought up fourth down at the 22. Fort Scott was going to let Russell try a
39-yard field goal but was called for illegal procedure. After the penalty, the 'Hounds decided to go for it instead but Blaine Dalton's pass into the end zone was incomplete.
The defense forced a punt and the Greyhounds took over at their own 28 with 6:07 left. The drive looked as if it would stall on fourth-and-13 at the 43 but this time Dalton hit his target, Malcom Moulton, in the end zone with 4:07 remaining. Russell's PAT brought the 'Hounds within 3 points.
The defense forced another punt and the Greyhounds were able to get a chance for a Hail Mary play from their own 31 with 5 seconds left. But the Broncbusters broke through to sack Dalton for the sixth and final time to end the contest.
Fort Scott finished the game with 231 yards of total offense but had only 74 yards rushing on 36 carries. Nick Woods rushed for 103 yards on 19 carries. Dalton completed 13 of 28 passes for 157 yards. Moulton caught 5 passes for 96 yards.
Wade rushed for 71 yards on 24 carries despite not playing a down in the first half for reasons unknown. Backup Deschion Baskerville gained 46 yards on 8 carries in the first half. Winfrey completed 10 of 25 passes for 103 yards. Johnson caught 7 for 72 yards.
The Greyhounds return home Saturday to host eighth-ranked Coffeyville (2-0, 3-0) which had last week off after beating the Broncbusters here 31-2 last week.
NOTES -- Williams' touchdown was Fort Scott's first defensive TD since linebacker Sam Quilice returned an interception for a score against Dodge City in a 20-0 victory last season....
The other two occasions there's been a defensive conversion made in an FSCC game were by Dodge City in 1996 and Air Force Prep in 2006. Fort Scott won both those games. The Greyhounds have never scored a defensive conversion and there's never been one made at Frary Field...
This was the Busters' first victory in the series since winning 21-13 at Garden City in the season opener of the 2005 season....