(Fort Scott Community College photo/Kaitlyn Russell)
It's the first victory in this series for Prep, which had lost the first six meetings.
Fort Scott's defense forced a turnover on the first possession of Saturday afternoon's contest. Prep forced a punt, then scored on each of its next five possessions.
Although Fort Scott fell to 1-6 on the season, the outcome had no bearing on its chance to still qualify for the Region VI Playoffs as this was a non-conference game. Prep improved to 4-3 as the Huskies are competing against the Jayhawk Conference better than the school has since the agreement that each KJCCC school play them began four seasons ago.
Greyhound defensive back Joe Williams intercepted Husky QB Mitch Griebel on the game's first possession. That came five plays after Maurice Jones' pick on the first play of the contest was wiped out by a Fort Scott holding penalty. This was a seemingly great sign for the much-maligned 'Hound secondary.
The problem was that Prep is an option, run-first team. The Huskies rushed the ball on all but four of the 75 plays they ran, gaining 460 yards on the ground, the most allowed by a Greyhound team since 2003. Ten players carried the ball.
"An option football team is the worst to face when you're having a tough season," Fort Scott head coach Jeff Sims said. "When you have a tough season, you doubt yourself at times and you doubt your teammate at times. And option defense is all about trust and responsibility. If you start trying to do someone else's job, it really affects you."
The Greyhounds have lost four straight games. In order to make the playoffs, they'll have to beat Dodge City next week then go to Highland and win on the final weekend of the regular season while hoping that Independence can beat Garden City along the way. That's the minimum they need to happen.
Jon Lee scored Prep's first two touchdowns. The first came after the Greyhounds concluded their opening possession after Williams' interception by failing to convert a fourth-and-1 at their own 38-yard line. Lee gained 17 yards on the first play, then 9 on the second. Fullback Brandon Ellison gained 3 on the next play to set up Lee's score from 9 yards out with 9:06 on the clock in the first quarter.
Prep recovered a fumble to set up Lee's other score, a 30-yard jaunt with 2:51 to go. The conversion made it a 14-0 game.
The Greyhounds got to the Prep 40 on the next possession but linebacker Riley Carr stopped Fort Scott quarterback Blaine Dalton on a fourth-down keeper. Griebel kept the ball himself for the Huskies' next score on a 4-yard run with 9:54 left in the second quarter, making it 21-0.
Running back Jonathon Diaz found himself wide open to haul in one of Griebel's passes for a 40-yard score with 6:22 left to make it 28-0.
Dalton was sacked on fourth-and-2 from the Prep 45 for a 5-yard loss with just under 5 minutes to go. On the very next play, Ben Souther broke through the middle of the line for a 50-yard scoring run with 4:49 remaining for the Huskies' final score of the half.
Fort Scott got on the board with 1:36 to go on Drew Russell's 29-yard field goal.
With a strong wind behind him, Prep kicker Steve Valadez was sent out to attempt a 62-yard field goal with about 10 seconds left in the half. It had the distance but was just wide to the left.
Fort Scott had the first possession of the second half and made it to Prep's 3-yard line. But Dalton's pass for Malcom Moulton fell incomplete.
Just a few plays after that, 'Hound linebacker Dexter Moody intercepted a pass and took it back 8 yards for Fort Scott's first touchdown. Jonathan Walker ran in the 2-point conversion to cut the deficit to 35-11 with 9:50 to to in the third quarter.
Valadez made a 24-yard field goal with 2:03 left in the quarter to put Prep up 38-11 going into the final stanza.
The Greyhounds' ensuing possession went into the fourth quarter. On a fourth-and-6 from the Prep 17, Dalton scrambled to his right then found tight end Brannon Green in the back of the end zone with 14:13 left in the contest. Dalton threw to Alex Barner for the 2-point conversion to cut the margin to 38-19.
On the next possession, Prep back Eugene Glenn, who had not played before this drive, scored on a 9-yard run and the PAT kick made it 45-19 with 10:09 remaining.
Another apparent Greyhound touchdown, what would have been a 71-yard connection between Spenser Bennett and Moulton, was wiped out by a penalty. Prep's Fred Blow intercepted Spenser on the next play with 8:41 remaining. The Huskies were able to hold on to the ball for the remainder of the contest, getting down to the Fort Scott 3 before taking a knee.
The Greyhounds gained 214 yards through the air but completed only 41 percent of their passes. Bennett, who drew his third consecutive start, completed 6 of 20 passes for 96 yards while Dalton was 7 of 13 for 78 yards. Matt Bollig completed a 40-yard pass on a fake punt. Christian Buckner led FSCC with 5 receptions for 63 yards.
"Spenser, I think, is showing what leadership is and how you should react to wins and losses; how you should carry yourself," Sims said. "He's consistent out there and giving everything he has."
Fort Scott rushed the ball 36 times for 111 yards. Walker, who also drew a second straight start, ran 13 times for 40 yards. Bennett gained 31 yards on 4 rushes.
For Prep, which had 29 first downs and averaged 6 1/2 yards per carry, Souther led all rushers with 87 yards on 9 carries while Hall had 72 on 9 totes and Griebel 66 on 16 rushes. Lee had 64 yards on 5 carries and Broam Hart had 64 on 11 tries.
Griebel didn't see any of his passes hit the ground as he was 2 for 4 for 62 yards and 2 interceptions. Diaz caught both those passes.
Saturday's game against Dodge City kicks off at 1 p.m. The Conquistadors (0-5 Jayhawk, 0-6 overall), who have lost 13 of their last 14 games, were routed by No. 2 Hutchinson, 63-0, Saturday night.
NOTES -- There were 24 penalties in the game. Prep was called 14 times for 134 yards while Fort Scott was whistled 10 times for 108....
There was just one punt in the contest, that by the 'Hounds. Both teams ran a fake from punt formation....
Garden City gained 463 yards on the ground against the 'Hounds in a 63-28 victory in the first round of the 2003 Jayhawk Conference playoffs at Garden City....
Dodge City ranks last in the conference in six of the eight major categories (Scoring offense and defense, total offense and defense, rushing offense and defense)....