(Kenny Felt/Captured Images)
Fort Scott's defense gave the Tigers a chance to steal victory when they stopped Pittsburg for a 5-yard gain on fourth-and-6 with just under 7 minutes to go. Fort Scott needed to drive 95 yards to win and got started with a 10-yard run by Jason Thorpe on the first play of the drive.
Thorpe, subbing for brother Jaret, who suffered an ankle injury earlier, gained 13 on the next play. Then Pittsburg was called for pass interference, which put the ball at the Fort Scott 43-yard line.
Jason Thorpe was shaken up himself after gaining 9 yards on the next play. But Dane Cummings gained the first down to the Pittsburg 45 two plays later.
Quarterback Trevor Swim found Griffin Knopp for a 28-yard gain on the next play. But Jordan Elliott broke up a pass for Knopp to the left of the end zone on third-and-7 and Marcus Striplin intercepted a pass for Knopp in the right side of the end zone and ran it out 17 yards on fourth down.
The Tigers got a three-and-out and were helped when Pittsburg only had 10 players out for the punt and had to use a time out with 2:02 to go. The punt then took a Fort Scott bounce and was touched dead at the Tigers' 45 with 1:54 to go.
Kelsey Adams gained 3 yards on first down. On second down, play was stopped for an equipment problem even though it had appeared that Fort Scott had snapped the ball. When the play was finally snapped, a pass fell incomplete. Then Elliott intercepted the third-down pass which sealed the victory for Pittsburg.
Despite this outcome, it appears that the Tigers (3-3 SEK and overall) are very much ready for Kansas Class 4A District 6 play, which begins next week. Anderson County was crushed by Eudora 55-6, Prairie View was shut out by Wellsville 34-0, and Iola lost to Labette County 27-21 Friday night. ACHS and Prairie View will each enter district play with 4-2 records while Iola, the Tigers opponent next week in Iola, fell to 0-6.
Jaret Thorpe made an impact on the opening kickoff as he returned it 85 yards to Pittsburg's 6-yard line. Brother Jason scored the first of his two touchdowns three plays later ad Griffin Knopp's extra-point kick made it 7-0 just 1:21 into the contest.
Later in the period, Striplin muffed a punt and Luke Brown recovered for the Tigers at the Purple Dragons' 24-yard line. Fort Scott decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the 15 but Brown was covered on the pass route and Swim slipped on some loose turf short of the first down.
Pittsburg (5-0, 6-0) took over and moved the ball downfield with an efficient mix of pass and run. Elliott rolled left and found Kevin Harvey from 11 yards out to cap an 11-play drive with 1:13 on the clock. But the Tigers remained ahead, 7-6, when the extra point was blocked.
Scott Martin intercepted a pass to end the Tigers' next possession after just two plays. The Dragons took over at Fort Scott's 27 and took the lead in six plays as Christian Boor ran in from 8 yards out. Pittsburg went for the 2-point conversion and failed on the first attempt. But the Tigers were called for roughing the passer, which have the Dragons another attempt, which Elliott converted by sneaking over the line to make it a 14-7 game with 9:43 left in the half.
The Dragons stopped the Tigers to force another punt. But Joe Wimmer muffed that kick and Brown recovered again, this time at the Pittsburg 13. Fort Scott needed only four plays to capitalize as Jason Thorpe went over from 3 yards out for his second score with 6:15 to go. Knopp's kick tied the score at 14-14.
Pittsburg reclaimed the lead shortly before halftime as Elliott found Wimmer from 7 yards out. The kick failed again to leave the score at 20-14 with 28 seconds left.
The Dragons also scored on the first possession of the second half. Striplin took a pitch from the left and used two good blocks to score from 47 yards out with 9:08 on the clock. A 2-point conversion failed but the lead was 26-14.
The Tigers responded with a 14-play, 70 yard drive capped by Kelsey Adams' 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal with 2:20 to go in the period. This time, Knopp's kick was no good but Fort Scott was within a score, 26-20.
Pittsburg finished with 367 yards of total offense, 206 on the ground, while Fort Scott had 199 total yards. Elliott completed 12 of 17 passes for 161 yards and rushed for 91 yards on 14 carries. Striplin rushed for 91 yards on 20 carries. Harvey caught 4 passes for 65 yards.
Jason Thorpe led Tiger rushers with 58 yards on 10 carries while Adams finished with 32 yards on 9 rushes. Swim completed just 4 of 15 passes for 62 yards.
NOTES -- This was Pittsburg's first game on natural grass this season. The Dragons have played three home games and road games at Coffeyville and Chanute. Their only other game on grass this season will be the one at St. Thomas Aquinas on Oct. 29...
There were no penalties on either team in the second half and only five were called in the first half, three on Pittsburg....