Fort Scott shuts out Prairie View, clinches playoff berth
FORT SCOTT -- Fort Scott High School's football team clinched a spot in the Kansas Class 4A Playoffs with a 49-0 rout of undermanned Prairie View at Frary Field here Friday night in District 6 play.
The Tigers (2-0 district, 5-3 overall) shut out an opponent for the first time since 2007 and have scored 118 points in their last two games -- the second-highest total the Tigers have ever scored in consecutive district games.
And that's despite the fact that Fort Scott's offense didn't see any action for the game's first 13 1/2 minutes.
"It was kind of a unique situation," Fort Scott head coach Bob Campbell said. "Prairie View has done a nice job this year with simplifying and shortening the game. The offense they run eats up a lot of time. They're content with running the ball 3 or 4 times to get a first down. It can really frustrate you because you look up there and we hadn't even had the ball yet at the end of the first quarter."
Fort Scott got on the scoreboard in the first quarter when a snap went over the punter's head and bounced into the end zone. Griffin Knopp fell on it to give the Tigers the lead and also kicked the extra point with 9:43 on the clock.
After the kickoff, Prairie View's wishbone offense controlled the ball for the remainder of the quarter, converting two fourth downs before quarterback Aaron Brintnall threw an incomplete pass on fourth-and-9 from the Fort Scott 14-yard line. The Buffalos (0-2, 4-4) held the ball for 21 plays on that possession. Fort Scott finally ran its first offensive play with 10:35 left in the second quarter.
Fort Scott showed ball control of its own later in the period, taking 11 plays to drive 62 yards for Dane Cummings' 1-yard touchdown plunge with 2:16 left in the half with Knopp's PAT kick making it 14-0.
"We told the kids before the game and we said it again at halftime that we just needed to do our job and play our game," Campbell said. "Continue to do a good job on offense and executing on defense. And that's how the game started to flow in our direction in the second half."
After scoring 34 points in the third quarter of last week's 69-21 victory over Iola, the Tigers exploded again with 28 points in the third period of this one. Kelsey Adams scored from 1 yard out on Fort Scott's first possession of the half to make it 21-0 with 9:12 to go.
The Buffalos -- who dressed just 18 players -- were stopped on fourth-and-5 at their own 46 on their next possession, perhaps feeling they had to go for it in that situation in order to keep themselves in the contest. But the Tigers marched down and scored again when quarterback Trevor Swim rolled to his right and found Lane Gray from 16 yards out with 4:45 to go.
Prairie View fumbled away the ensuing kickoff and the Tigers recovered at the 37. Swim found Knopp for another touchdown from 33 yards out with 2:09 remaining, making it 35-0.
The Buffs fumbled the ball away again on the first play of their next possession and the Tigers recovered at the 19. Three plays later, Cody McGehee scored on a 2-yard run with 1:02 to go.
Younger players went in on the second play of the Tigers' only possession of the final stanza and they drove 76 yards in 7 plays to score on Victor Hughes' 19-yard run with 3:21 left in the contest.
Fort Scott had 19 first downs and finished with 301 yards in total offense, with 252 of those coming on the ground. Jaret Thorpe finished with 99 yards on 13 carries while Cummings had 41 on 10 totes. Swim completed 2 of 6 passes for 49 yards but both completions resulted in touchdowns.
Prairie View gained only 117 total yards, all on 40 rushes. The Buffs gained just 1 of their 6 first downs in the second half and their only pass completion in 6 attempts gained no yards. Stefan Davis was the leading ground gained with 44 yards on 11 carries.
Fort Scott will travel to Anderson County Thursday to conclude regular-season play. Anderson County (2-0, 6-2) clinched a playoff berth of its own with a 61-46 victory over winless Iola Friday night. Thursday's game will determine which team will be district champion and have the privilege of hosting a game in the first round of the playoffs. The loser will go on the road in the first round.
It's the Tiger's first playoff berth since the 2007 season.
"I think the kids deserve so much credit in the time and effort they put in," Campbell said. "It all starts with the job they've done. Sometimes, when you haven't won for a while, winning is a little sweeter. And it's very, very well deserved. I'm happy for our kids, especially the seniors in their last home game."