(Kenny Felt/Special to the Tribune)
The victory gave the Tigers (8-1) the Class 4A District 6 title. They will host District 5 runner-up and defending Class 4A State champion Louisburg (4-5) Tuesday night at 7 p.m. for a Bi-District Playoff Game.
"A lot of time and effort's gone into it," Fort Scott head coach Bob Campbell said. "I thought (the Tigers) played very well against a good team."
(Kenny Felt/Special to the Tribune)
Fort Scott picked up 22 first downs and 359 yards on the ground while Anderson County had just 10 first downs and 184 yards of total offense.
The Bulldogs took the game's first possession and marched down to Fort Scott's 16-yard line in 12 plays. But it stalled there when quarterback Jake Rickabaugh's scramble came up short on a fourth-down play.
The Tigers answered back with a steady, 11-play, 89-yard scoring drive of their own. Long gains made possible by strong blocking and broken tackles led to Dane Cummings' 2-yard scoring run with 1:28 on the clock in the first quarter. Jonathan Allen's extra-point kick made it 7-0.
"The offense put together several nice drives," Campbell said. "I was happy to see the consistency in our offense. At times, we marched the ball 60, 70 yards for touchdowns and when you do that, it takes a lot of steam out of the opponent."
The Tigers forced a punt but it looked as though Anderson County might hold them. However, quarterback Johnathan Stark found receiver Brady Fink for a 15-yard gain on a third-and-14 play from Fort Scott's 33. A late hit penalty moved the ball to the Anderson County 37. Six plays later, Jason Thorpe scored from 12 yards out. The PAT kick failed, leaving it 13-0 with 6:41 left in the second.
Stark threw an interception as Fort Scott's third drive stalled. But he got the ball right back, intercepting a halfback pass on the very next play to give the Tigers possession at their own 39 with 1:09 left in the half.
Thorpe gained 15 yards on the first play. Two plays after that, Stark rolled to his right to avoid pressure and completed a pass to tight end Luke Brown, who ran the rest of the way for the 46-yard score with 40 seconds to go.
This was Brown's first game back in the lineup since suffering a knee injury during practice following the Parsons game Sept. 23.
Up 19-0 at the half, the Tigers needed just 5 plays to take the opening possession of the second half into the end zone. That came on a Cummings run over the right side of the line from 7 yards out 3:15 into the half. Cummings also ran in the 2-point conversion to make it 27-0.
Reed Ramsey's hit on a Bulldog back on the next drive forced a fumble, which was picked up by Cody McGehee, who picked up the ball and ran it back to near the goal line. A holding penalty on the return brought the ball back to the ACHS 22, but McGehee scored three plays later from 4 yards out. Allen's kick made it 34-0 with 5:12 to to in the third.
Anderson County got its only score of the night 7 seconds into the fourth quarter when Zach Hilliard went in from 14 yards out. The Bulldogs went for the 2-point conversion but failed.
Cummings produced the game's final score with his third touchdown of the night on a fourth-and-11 play from the ACHS 17 with 8:32 remaining.
Thorpe led all rushers with 140 yards on 17 carries while Cummings added 110 yards on 14 rushes. This is the fourth time this season both of them have rushed for over 100 yards in the same game. Thorpe went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
"Jason, Dane, Cody, all very good running backs and all give us the ability to make big plays on offense," Campbell said. "And I was impressed with our offensive line as the game went on. Anderson County up front has a pretty good defensive line."
Stark completed 4 of 7 passes for 91 yards. Fink caught 2 for 27 yards.
Wingback Dakota Jumet led Anderson County with 37 yards on 6 carries. Rickabaugh completed just 5 of 11 passes for 57 yards.
Although Tuesday night's opponent, Louisburg, has a sub-.500 record, Campbell noted that the Frontier League in which the Wildcats play could have as many as six teams in the playoffs.
"They're the defending State champs," He said. "And they're in the playoffs. And as I've told the kids ... until somebody beats them in the playoffs, they're the State champions.
"They will be very, very good. You look at their league, they've lost to some teams that are really high quality. I think six of their teams will make the playoffs, all with very good records. It will be a challenge for us but that's what you want. You get in the playoffs, get to play great competition and hopefully keep advancing."
NOTES -- The Tigers scored 158 points in their three district games, the second-highest total in school history. The record is 179 points, scored by the Class 4A championship team of 2000...
This was the second time in their last three games the Tigers did not punt....