(Kenny Felt/Special to the Tribune)
But with a chance to clinch a home Regional playoff game for the third consecutive season, the Tigers (5-2 SEK, 9-5 overall) didn't take the Titans lightly, thumping them 7-1 and winning for the fifth time in six matches.
How to tell? Any time there was a loose ball -- a "50/50 ball" in the soccer vernacular -- a Tigers was almost always the first one to get to it. If they're not hustling, more of those would have went to Columbus (0-5, 0-12)
"That's something we've definitely been working on this week," Fort Scott head coach Kevin Gray said. "We had a little stretch there when we weren't getting those 50/50 balls. So yesterday, especially, was two hours practice to make sure we get those 50/50 balls."
Fort Scott's first goal was scored in the 14th minute when Chase Howser knocked in Roger Rodriguez's corner kick.
The next goal was scored by Don Savage, his 20th of the season, in the 23rd minute off a pass by Wyatt Hulbert. He would also score a goal in the 49th minute, weaving around defenders to put the ball into the net.
Savage, at least according to Tribune records, is just the second Tiger to have a 20-goal season. In the program's first season, 2000, Karl Braun, an exchange student from Germany, also had in excess of 20.
With two regular-season games remaining and at least one playoff game, Savage -- who has had a four-goal game and at least five-multi goal games -- has a chance to break the record, believed to be 23.
"We sure want to get him the record," Gray said. "But we're playing next Thursday for a home playoff game and if don't beat Coffeyville, then we're on the road in the first round and that's more important. We know he's going to keep scoring goals."
Savage, however, did not play solely to score goals and break record. He also assisted on two goals. The first was to Andy Cowlishaw one minute after his first goal to make it a 3-0 game.
David Goff scored from about 25 yards out just before the half to make it 4-0. He also scored the first goal of the second half.
Savage assisted Wyatt Hulbert on Fort Scott's sixth goal at 59 minutes. Savage's second goal was the last one of the match for the Tigers.
Columbus scored with one minute left in the match on a defense made up mostly of the junior varsity. And that group managed to hold the Titans scoreless for about 12 minutes prior to the goal by Joel Zwahlen.
Fort Scott shot at the Columbus goal 26 times while the Titans managed only 11 shots. Tiger goalkeeper Brett Allen made 5 saves.
Because Columbus had only 18 players on its roster, the junior varsity contest was just one half of 25 minutes. Tyler Endicott scored the only goal off a George Bautista assist as the Tigers won 1-0. Gage Addington faced two shots and saved both.
Now, after playing four games in six days, Fort Scott has an entire week off before hosting Coffeyville in an SEK match at 4:30 p.m. next Thursday at Ellis Park.
"We'll go Monday, Tuesday next week and try to treat them like a game day and get up and down like everybody else in the state will be doing," Gray said. "We'll do some scrimmaging and some conditioning-type stuff to make sure we stay sharp."
NOTES -- Savage had two other shots at goal. In the third minute, a header went just wide left. In the 22nd, he had a one-on-one breakaway against Columbus goalkeeper Andre McLain, who made the save....
|Team stats||Columbus||Fort Scott|
|Shots on goal||6||16|
C -- McLean (14 shots, 5 saves), Bigando (50th min, 2 shots, 1 save. FS -- Allen (5 saves).
FS -- Howser (Rodriguez), 14th min.
FS -- Do.Savage (Hulbert), 23rd min.
FS -- Cowlishaw (Do. Savage), 24th min.
FS -- Goff (unassisted), 40th min.
FS -- Goff, 2 (unassisted), 47th min.
FS -- Hulbert (Do.Savage), 49th min.
FS -- Do.Savage, 2 (unassisted), 59th min.
C -- Zwahlen (Bennet), 79th min.