Blinn running back Marion Grice rushed for 236 yards and four touchdowns Thursday night the No. 4-ranked Buccaneers rode roughshod over Fort Scott Community College, 65-18, in both team's season opener at Frary Field.
Blinn's 65 points were the most any team has scored in the six seasons that the Southwest Junior College Football Conference and the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference have played their opening-weekend series. It exceeded the 55 points Blinn scored in last year's victory over Fort Scott in Brenham, Texas (Hutchinson also broke that mark Thursday night when the Blue Dragons routed Kilgore 60-29).
"There is no magic dust," FSCC head coach Curtis Horton said when asked about the game by KSEK's Matt Newbery. "We just have to keep playing like men and finish the game like men. I'm real proud of the fact that we played all four quarters. We were still trying to put it into the end zone and the defense was still trying to fly around to the football. They stayed focused on the sideline and they kept their composure. "
For one quarter, the game looked much like a typical opener with both teams making some mistakes at first. However, it was the Greyhounds who played better in the first period, outgaining the Buccaneers 101 yards to 14, picking up 6 first downs to none for Blinn and leading 3-0 after sophomore Drew Russell booted a 27-yard field goal with 2:57 left in the quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Blinn's defense held when FSCC quarterback Matt Bollig was unable to convert a sneak on fourth down at the Buccaneers' 42-yard line. From that point on, Blinn dominated, scoring 30 points in less than nine minutes.
Grice scored the first of his touchdowns from 5 yards out with 9:27 remaining, carrying for the final 37 yards himself on 5 rushes.
Two more points went up on Blinn's side when a snap sailed over Griffin Knopp's head in punt formation. He recovered close enough to his own goal line that he chose to toss the ball out the back of the end zone rather than try to run and get stuck inside his own 5-yard line.
Grice scored again just three plays after the safety on a 19-yard run, making it 16-3 with 6:32 left in the half.
Blinn quarterback Eric Mathews went on to throw two touchdown passes in less than a minute later in the half. The second one came after a reprieve as a 100-yard interception return by Fort Scott's Ladarius Gunter was called back due to an offside penalty. Two plays later, Mathews found Saqwan Edwards for a leaping catch in the back right corner of the end zone from 5 yards out with 1:30 remaining.
One play after a Fort Scott punt, Mathews connected with Xavier Maxwell down the left sideline for a 76-yard scoring play with 36 seconds left, making it 30-3.
Fort Scott tried to get another field goal at the end of the half, but the snap went over holder Bollig's head and he couldn't pass his way out of trouble when he recovered the ball.
The Bucs punted on their first possession of the third quarter but scored on the other three. Mathews kept down the right side on an option play and scored from 58 yards out with 9:24 to go. Grice scored touchdown No. 3 on a pitch over the right side from 52 yards out with 4:53 left. Then backup tailback Brelyn Sorrells scored on a 3-yard run with 1:02 remaining to make it 51-3.
The Greyhounds finally got into the end zone early in the fourth when Martese Jackson plunged in from 2 yards out with 10:57 left in the contest, capping a 13-play, 59-yard drive.
Blinn scored again two plays after a Greyhound fumble when Mathews and Edwards connected for the second time on a 19-yard play with 7:45 left, making it a 58-10 lead.
The 'Hounds capped a 9-play, 57-yard drive after that with a 25-yard pass from backup quarterback Owen Jordan to Jonathan Wright in the back of the end zone with 3:26 to go. Linebacker Marciece Jackson ran in a two-point conversion out of the swinging gate formation to bring Fort Scott within 58-18.
Then, almost as if Blinn took it as an affront that Fort Scott would dare score, the Bucs left Grice in the game and he popped a 70-yard scoring run up the middle on the first play after the kickoff.
However, despite the high totals against them, Horton was able to see positives in the effort the Greyhounds gave, particularly on defense.
"They were well disciplined," Horton said. "They were lined up in the right positions. They were flying to the ball. They're learning to play together and trust each other. It will come around. There's a lot of talent there. They've worked their butts off and as long as they stay with it, they'll be great.
"I also told (the team) it wasn't acceptable to get blown out like that. So I told them we're going to work harder. We're going to fix the mistakes. And we're going to keep getting better."
Blinn rolled up 680 of its 694 yards in the last three quarters. The Bucs averaged 11.2 yards per play, gaining 418 rushing yards on 42 carries and 276 yards passing.
Fort Scott gained 244 total yards, 163 of those on the ground. Martese Jackson gained 149 yards on 36 carries and Luke Lundy had 42 yards on 12 rushes.
Mathews finished with 195 yards passing on 10-of-18 while also gaining 80 yards on 11 rushes. Edwards had 64 yards on 4 receptions, Kurt Walker gained 88 on 3 catches and Maxwell had 88 on 2 receptions.
Bollig completed just 6 of 15 passes for 46 yards while Jordan went 2 of 3 for 35 yards. Wright caught 5 passes for 73 yards.
The Greyhounds will have a tough mission in their next game as well as they will have to travel to El Dorado to face No. 3 Butler, which lost on the road at No. 1 Navarro, 23-16, in a rematch of last year's national championship game. That game will be played Sept. 3 with kickoff at 7p.m.
NOTES -- Blinn remains undefeated in the SWJCFC-KJCCC series, which began in 2006. The Buccaneers are the only Texas school without a loss in the series (6-0).
Garden City is the only Kansas team that is unbeaten in the series. The Broncbusters play at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in Miami Saturday night....
Fort Scott and Butler each fell to 3-3 in the series. Hutchinson improved to 4-2 with its win over Kilgore, making it the only other Kansas team with a winning record in the series. Navarro also improved to 4-2 while Kilgore remains the only Texas school that hasn't won a game in the series (0-6)...
Also Saturday night, Cisco visits Dodge City, Trinity Valley is at Independence and Coffeyville travels to Tyler. Dodge City and Independence have never won a game in this series while Coffeyville is just 1-4. Tyler is 4-1 while Cisco and Trinity Valley are each 3-2....
Overall, including Thursday night's games, the SWJFC holds a 23-17 lead in the six-year-old series....
This is the second year of the two-year scheduling cycle in the series, so every school will have a different opponent on opening weekend next season if the conferences agree to continue the series. Fort Scott played Navarro in 2006 and 2007 and Kilgore in 2008 and 2009....