GARNETT -- Fort Scott High School's football team claimed the Class 4A District 6 title here Thursday night giving the Tigers (6-3) their first District title and first playoff berth since 2007.
Fort Scott will host a Class 4A Bi-District Playoff Game Tuesday night at 7 at Frary Field. Paola (6-3) will be the opponent. The Panthers fell to No. 2-ranked Louisburg 21-3 in District 5 Thursday night. Anderson County (6-3) will have to travel to take on the unbeaten Wildcats (9-0).
The team picked to tie for last place in the Southeast Kansas League not only defied the polls but also has made to this point made the biggest single-season turnaround since going from 1-8 in 1982 to 6-4 the next season. The Tigers were 1-8 last season.
Fort Scott scored 153 points in its three district games, the second-highest total in school history. The Tigers -- the stingiest defense in the SEK coming into the game -- allowed just 27 points in district play.
Fort Scott scored on its first two possessions. Anderson County looked to make a goal-line stand early on as they had the Tigers facing a fourth-and-goal at the Bulldogs' 4-yard line. Quarterback Trevor Swim tossed a screen pass to halfback Jaret Thorpe for the score with 9:14 on the clock.
Anderson County fumbled on the first play of its first possession and the Tigers recovered at the Bulldogs' 33. Swim hit tight end Tony Jackson for 16 yards on the first play. Three plays later, fullback Dane Cummings followed his blocking on the right side of the line to make it 14-0 with 7:39 on the clock.
Later in the period, Anderson County intercepted a pass and moved down to the Fort Scott 1-yard line. But wingback Alen Troyer was stopped on fourth-and-goal.
The Tigers took over and moved the ball downfield with their rushing game. It also didn't hurt that the Bulldogs were called for offsides four times on the drive.
Fort Scott also converted three third-downs on the drive, the last and most important when Cummings scored on a 4-yard run on third-and-1 with 2:37 remaining in the first half. Griffin Knopp's third PAT kick of the night made it 21-0.
Last Friday, Prairie View held the ball for the game's first 13 1/2 minutes. This time, Fort Scott played keep away as it drove 99 yards in 16 plays and burned nearly 10 minutes of game time.
Fort Scott also scored on its first possession of the second half on a 5-yard Swim keeper with 4:31 left in the third period.
Swim had several big rushing gains on the drive, including a 29-yard run that moved the ball down to the Anderson County 21. Swim went on to lead the Tigers in rushing with 92 yards on 10 carries.
The Bulldogs finally got on the board with 1:16 remaining in the third period when Troyer took a pitch 11 yards for the score. ACHS went for the 2-point conversion but did not make it.
The Bulldogs went into this game having scored 97 points in district play. But they had also allowed 67 points, including 46 last week in a wild victory over Iola.
Swim scored again on a 17-yard run with 11:21 remaining in the game to put the final score of the night on the board.
The Bulldogs, ill equipped for a comeback with their double-wing offense, held the ball on their next possession for over 7 minutes and drove 55 yards only to come up short on fourth-and-2 from the Fort Scott 8.
The Tigers finished with 345 yards in total offense, gaining 278 of those on the ground. Cummings finished with 66 yards on 12 carries. Swim also completed 5 of 9 passes for 67 yards. Knopp caught 2 of those for 36 yards.
Anderson County finished with 234 total yards. Troyer had 104 of the Bulldogs' 176 rushing yards on 21 carries. But that was a less-than-average night for Troyer, who came into the game as one of the top five rushers in all of Class 4A.
The Bulldogs were called for 11 penalties but for just a total of 59 yards as just about all of them were offsides calls.
NOTES -- Some of you who know Tiger football history will remember that the Tigers had 6 wins in 1995 then 13 in 1997 when they won the Class 4A State title. That is a bigger turnaround -- a 7-win difference -- but it was only a 3-win difference in the regular season....
Fort Scott's record for points in a district season is 179 by the 2000 team that went on to win State....
Chanute won the District 7 title with a 42-12 victory over Girard while Independence finished as the runner-up with a 53-15 victory over Parsons.
Meanwhile, in District 8, Coffeyville defeated Baxter Springs, 38-28, to finish as district champ and Columbus downed Labette County, 27-25, to finish second.
Tuesday night, Independence (8-1) will travel to Coffeyville (4-5) while Chanute (7-2) will host Columbus (5-4)....
Louisburg's David Embers caught two scoring passes from Kody Cook in the Wildcats' victory over Paola. Garrett Griffin added a fourth-quarter touchdown from 58 yards out.
Embers and Cook hooked up from 23 yards out to put Louisburg on the board in the second quarter. Paola got a 44-yard field goal by Nick Wilson to cut the deficit to 7-3 at the half.
Embers and Cook connected again from 25 yards out in the third period (Information from the Kansas City Star)....