(Captured Images/Kenny Felt)
Defense was the star of the game, however, as the Tigers held the visiting Vikings to less than half of their average total offense in a 14-3 Southeast Kansas League victory, their 19th straight over Parsons.
"If you can play defense, you always have a chance to win," Fort Scott head coach Bob Campbell said. "Offense sells tickets. Offense gets people excited. Everybody wants to see the big numbers go up but defense is how you win."
Parsons, which broke a 21-game losing streak two weeks ago, was averaging around 350 yards in total offense per game and was the second-best scoring offense in the SEK, scoring 47 points a game. Meanwhile, the Tigers allowed the fewest points in a game since shutting out Iola 37-0 in October 2007.
The Tigers (2-2 SEK and overall) held Parsons to 136 total yards and just 52 yards rushing on 35 carries.
"Hats off to our defense to start with," Campbell said. "Really played well, kept them in check. We felt like we kept their running game in check. We had a good game plan going in, We had a lot of support from our outside linebackers and our corners did a really good job. I thought that was the key to the game."
A Viking fumble deep in their own territory set up Fort Scott's first score in the second quarter. Four plays after the recovery Jaret Thorpe followed his blockers up the middle from two yards out and Griffin Knopp's conversion kick made it 7-0 with 6:20 on the clock.
Parsons (2-2, 2-2) drove into Fort Scott territory on the ensuing possession. But running back Tre Nash was tackled for a 5-yard loss on first down from the 19-yard line and Wes Krull threw three straight incomplete passes.
The Vikings got their only score when they got a second chance on a Tiger miscue early in the third quarter. Parsons recovered a muffed punt return on the Fort Scott 28. They had first-and-goal at the 5 but lost 6 yards on the next three plays and had to settle for Matt Williams' 38-yard field goal with 5:30 in the period.
The Tigers' offensive effort was good but inconsistent. They made it to the Parsons 30 on their next drive but couldn't advance any farther. Kaeland Thompson broke through the line to sack Fort Scott quarterback Trevor Swim on fourth down.
"Offensively, we just gotta keep working and get a little better," Campbell said. "We need to work to get a little bit better balance. We have to do a better job of eliminating mistakes. For the most part, we were playing hard. We just have to play a little smarter at times and eliminate some errors that put us in some tough situations."
Parsons took over and ran the ball on six consecutive plays as it advanced to the 29. After an incomplete pass, two more runs brought up fourth-and-4 at the 23 but Kelsey Adams broke up a pass intended for tight end Steve Jones.
The Tigers took over at their own 23 with 9:55 left in the fourth quarter. 14 plays later -- not including a key Parsons offside penalty on fourth-and-4 at the Vikings' 32 -- Swim rolled out to his right and found the end zone from 10 yards away with 4:16 remaining.
Parsons tried to throw its way back into the game but Reed Ramsey forced Krull to fumble on fourth-and-15 from his own 42 and the Tigers recovered at the 35. From there, they were able to run out the clock.
Jaret Thorpe carried the ball 24 times and gained 108 yards for Fort Scott. It was his first 100-yard game and the first by a Tiger since Denzell Davis gained 106 yards in last season's finale against Chanute.
Swim completed just 3 passes but they were all to Knopp for 43 yards, including two in the second scoring drive. The Tigers finished with 214 total yards, 171 on the ground.
Krull completed 7 of 19 passes for Parsons, three to Jones for 26 yards. Nash was the Vikings' leading rusher with 56 yards on 18 carries. Three Vikings finished with negative rushing yards.
The Tigers travel to Columbus next Friday. The Titans rolled over Iola 47-7 Friday night at Iola.