(Kenny Felt/Captured Images)
That's because FSHS didn't need to pass much Friday night at Frary Field as the running game was too effective not to use. The Tigers gained 291 yards rushing in a 39-6 Southeast Kansas League victory over Labette County in both teams' season opener.
The rushing numbers could have been greater but running-clock rule came into play during the fourth quarter as Fort Scott led 39-0.
Dane Cummings scored three touchdowns and Luke Brown had a 76-yard punt return to highlight the Tigers' scoring.
Cummings finished with 109 yards on just 10 carries and Jason Thorpe added 105 on nine totes. Cody McGehee finished with 75 yards on 7 rushes and made a nifty cut on a 25-yard touchdown scamper of his own.
"We told them after the game that all this hard work that started back in June with early mornings pays off," Fort Scott head coach Bob Campbell said. "We were really pleased with the effort we got."
Fort Scott's defense allowed just 33 yards in the first half as the Grizzlies' Pistol offense showed no pop. The Grizzlies didn't get their second first down until the third quarter and didn't cross the 50-yard line until there were less than 17 minutes remaining in the contest.
"I thought our defense played exceptional," Campbell noted. "Coach (Bo) Graham had them moving around and made a lot of great calls. He got the kids in the right place.
"Defensively, we flew to the ball. Didn't miss many tackles."
Fort Scott advanced to the LCHS 35-yard line on the game's first possession. Although the drive stalled after 8 plays and 65 yards, it was a sign of things to come.
The defense forced a punt and the Tigers got a big gain when quarterback Johnathan Stark found Luke Brown down the left sideline for a 34-yard gain that ser up Cummings' first score on a 30-yard pitch with 4:19 left in the first quarter. Brown's PAT kick was blocked.
Brown scored his punt return with 2:22 to go and Brady Fink caught the two-point conversion pass from Stark to make it 14-0.
McGehee's run came on the Tigers' next possession, capping a 10-play, 66-yard drive with 6:38 to go. He helped set it up himself when he broke a couple of tackles for 18 yards to get to the LCHS 39. Seven plays later, he broke up the middle, faked out a defender about 10 yards downfield and scored. The PAT kick failed, so the score was 20-0.
Notable about the running game was how far downfield the Tigers blocked. Whether it was receivers, backs or offensive linemen getting 10 yards downfield, they cleared paths all night long.
"We feel like our offensive line has a chance to be very, very good," Campbell said. "You could see that they created some nice holes. And with the luxury of having three backs who are so explosive, we can do a lot of different things."
Cummings scored his second touchdown, this from 38 yards out, just two plays after an LC punt, to make it 26-0 with 4:28 to go. Stark was sacked on an attempted pass for the two-point conversion.
Thorpe only needed one play after another punt to score from 55 yards away with 2:38 to go. Again, the two-point conversion was no good and the halftime margin of 32-0 was created.
The Tigers' final score came when Stark hit Cummings on a screen pass from 19 yards out with 7:08 left in the third quarter. Brown's kick was successful.
Labette County finally got its second first down, then across the 50-yard line on the ensuing possession. The Grizzlies made it to the Fort Scott 10 before quarterback Cole Traxson's pass was dropped in the end zone with under 11 minutes remaining in the contest.
Hunter Seibert got Labette County's only score on a 3-yard touchdown run as the clock hit zero. The game was completed in just 2 hours and 2 minutes.
Fort Scott finished with 360 yards of total offense to just 124 for Labette County. Stark completed 4 of 6 passes for 69 yards in his first varsity start. Cummings was the leading receiver with 2 catches for 38 yards.
Labette County managed 124 yards in total offense but averaged less than two yards a rush with 69 yards on 39 carries.
Fort Scott continues league play next Friday when the Tigers travel to Coffeyville. The Golden Tornado lost to Pittsburg, 42-18, in their opener.