(Kenny Felt/Special to the Tribune)
In what was both the Class 4A-District 6 opener and the final meeting between these schools in a Southeast Kansas League game, Fort Scott rushed for 506 yards in a 64-28 rout of Iola.
There's no record of the Tigers having a better rushing performance, at least not since 1996. And Fort Scott's 565 yards of total offense was the second best by the program since 1996 with only a 616-yard performance against Topeka-Highland Park in 1998 known to be a better performance.
(Kenny Felt/Special to the Tribune)
"Jason did a great job," Fort Scott head coach Bob Campbell said. "Of course, and Jason would say this, it all starts up front. Our offensive line did a tremendous job. Our line picked up their blitz early in the game. They were in their 6-2, had guys coming through and we were able to pick them up.
"For the most part, I thought they didn't get much penetration in the backfield. It was a great job by our offensive line."
The 92 combined points are the most scored in a Fort Scott High School game since 1960 -- the team combined for 90 in the Tigers' 69-21 victory in Iola last season -- and the third-most in school history. The two highest-scoring games were played in the 1920s.
Fort Scott (6-1 in the SEK and overall) needed just 21 seconds to get on the scoreboard. Cody McGehee returned the game's opening kickoff 27 yards to the Iola 48. Thorpe gained 9 yards on the first offensive play and Dane Cummings took the second play over the left side for the score from 39 yards out. The extra point kick was blocked.
Cummings finished with 128 yards on just 9 carries, also in just three quarters. And McGehee ended up with 97 yards on 9 carries himself while scoring twice.
Iola (1-6, 1-6), which moves to the Pioneer League next year, got on the scoreboard behind the effort of its SEK leading scorer Jerrik Sigg, who played quarterback, halfback and slotback during the game. He scored on a QB keeper to the inside from 3 yards out with 7:36 on the clock, and then gave Iola an 8-6 lead when he ran in the 2-point conversion.
Sigg, who scored two more touchdowns and now has 16 TDs and 106 total points on the season, rushed for 95 yards, passed for 72, caught 5 passes for 68 yards and had 128 yards on kickoff returns.
"I asked coach (Rick Horton) if he drives the bus," Campbell joked. "He's quite a talent. A lot of credit to those kids. I thought they played hard and played a good football game. I think if they continue to execute, they'll have a chance to win their next two."
Fort Scott scored on its second possession, gaining at least 10 yards on the first three plays before Thorpe scored on the fourth from 6 yards out with 6:05 left in the first. Cummings ran in the 2-point conversion to give the Tigers the lead for good, 14-8.
Brady Fink blocked a punt at the end of Iola's ensuing possession and Chism Hoener picked it up at Iola's 41-yard line, hesitated for a second, then ran in for an easy touchdown with 3:48 remaining in the period. The Tigers went for two but didn't get it.
Thorpe scored his second touchdown, another 6-yarder, with 2:02 to go. Quarterback Johnathan Stark kept the ball for the 2-point conversion to make it 28-8. Sigg returned the ensuing kickoff 83 yards and John Whitworth ran in the 2-point conversion to cap a wild first quarter that saw 44 points go up on the scoreboard.
There were "only" two scores in the second quarter. McGehee scored on a 4-yard run with 10:34 to go and Stark passed to tight end Reed Ramsey for the conversion. Thorpe scored his third TD on a 5-yard run with 4:42 left in the half and also ran in the 2-pointer to make it 44-16 at the half.
McGehee scored for the second time with 7:31 on the clock in the third. Jonathan Allen kicked the extra point to boost the lead to 51-16.
Sigg scored on a 9-yard run, this time from the halfback position, with 4:17 to go. But Thorpe streaked into the end zone from 59 yards out on the second play of the ensuing drive on his final carry of the game with 3:17 on the clock. Allen made the PAT kick for a 58-22 lead.
Race Kastl scored on a 14-yard run with 5:46 left in the contest as the junior varsity ran most of the plays of an 11-play, 67-yard drive with a running clock. The PAT was no good.
Sigg threw a 27-yard scoring pass to Bryce Misenhalter with 34 seconds left. The 2-point conversion failed as time ran out.
Iola managed 263 yards of total offense, getting 140 of that in the air. But while Sigg was 5 of 7 passing, regular quarterback Mason Coons was just 5 of 14 for 68 yards.
Stark completed 2 of 5 passes, both to Fink, for 59 yards and rushed for 55 yards.
The Tigers travel to Prairie View next Friday as district play continues while Iola will host Anderson County, which beat Prairie View 44-27.