COLUMBUS, Kan. -- Fort Scott High School picked up its first road victory since October 2008 and did so in bold fashion here Friday night, going for and making a 2-point conversion with 2:59 remaining in the contest to beat Columbus 15-14 in Southeast Kansas League play.
Just three minutes earlier, it appeared that Columbus was going to score an insurance touchdown. The Titans had moved the ball from their own 6-yard line to the Fort Scott 2 with just under six minutes left in the game. But running back Brandon Alberty fumbled on a fourth-down carry and the ball bounced into the end zone where the Tigers (3-2 SEK, 3-2 overall) recovered for a touchback.
On the first play after, Fort Scott quarterback tossed a screen pass to Griffin Knopp, who caught it one handed and advanced the ball 40 yards to the Columbus 40. Dane Cummings carried on the next play for 17 yards and a personal-foul face mask penalty at the end of the play moved the ball to the 11-yard line.
The Tigers advanced the ball incrementally to the Columbus 2, where they faced a fourth-down decision of their own. Jason Thorpe, filling in for older brother Jaret, who suffered an injury in the second quarter, pushed the ball over for the score with 2:59 remaining in the contest.
Instead of going for the tie, the Tigers went for victory and Swim hit Knopp for the 2-point conversion.
Straton Hunziker ended Columbus' hopes for a comeback by intercepting a Travis Jones pass with 2:14 to go. The Tigers gained a first down and then were able to kneel the clock out.
Turnovers led to two of the other three scores in the game as Fort Scott committed 3 and Columbus (3-2, 3-2) committed 4. The first score of the contest was the exception as the Titans turned to backup quarterback Travis Jones early in the second quarter. He completed 4 of 4 passes on the drive for 38 yards, the last going 11 yards to Todd Conrad for the score with 6:50 to go in the half.
The Tigers lost a fumble on the first play of the next drive and Jones led the Titans on a shorter scoring drive, finding Dustin Morris from 21 yards out with 5:42 to go to put Columbus up 14-0.
Fort Scott managed to get one score back after recovering a fumbled punt return at the Tigers' 47 later in the half. Swim hit Luke Brown for 38 yards on the first play of the drive. After a one-gain on the next play, Swim found Brown again for the touchdown with 2:31 remaining in the half to bring the Tigers within 14-7.
Columbus had the advantage over Fort Scott in every offensive area. But the turnovers and penalties -- 8 for 57 yards -- the Titans committed certainly hurt their cause. Columbus had 18 first downs, 202 rushing yards and 349 total yards. Fort Scott had 10 first downs -- just 3 at the half -- 146 rushing yards and 240 total.
Swim completed 7 of 15 passes for 94 yards with Knopp catching 3 for 49 yards and Brown hauling down 2 for 49. Swim also rushed for 71 yards on 9 carries.
Jones completed 6 of his first 7 passes for 86 yards but then went through a 2-for-7 for slump before finishing 14 of 22 for 137 yards. Taylor Spear caught 9 passes for 63 yards. Alberty gained 101 yards on 22 carries.
The Tigers will return home to face rival Pittsburg in Southeast Kansas League action at Frary Field next Friday with kickoff at 7 p.m. Pittsburg (4-0, 4-1) defeated Labette County, 41-14, Friday night.
NOTES -- The team Fort Scott beat on that October 2008 night was Parsons by a final score of 18-15. The Tigers had lost 7 straight on the road since then....
This was the Tigers' first victory over Columbus since winning a 2005 playoff game 42-18. It was the first time Fort Scott beat the Titans in a regular-season game since 1994, that by a 35-18 score....
Independence remained tied for the lead in the SEK with a 34-8 victory over rival Coffeyville. Independence is also 4-0 in league play (5-0 overall). However, Indy and Pittsburg are not scheduled to play each other this season and if neither lose their remaining league games, they will be declared co-champions....