Tiger senior Chase Howser scored the first of his three goals Thursday afternoon at the 24:38 mark of the first half as he led the Tigers to a 4-1 win over the Coffeyville Golden Tornado and a 4-3-2-1A Regional Championship at Ellis Park.
"I read that he (Adamson) was coming up so I took it the best I could and went right over him and into the goal," Howser said. "It was just perfect."
The Tigers never looked back, scoring again as Jonah Jones came off the bench for a goal at 6:53 of the first half. After a Marcus Brennon corner kick that Howser nearly headed into a score, Jones kicked the ball as it careened off a Coffeyville player and gave the Tigers a 2-0 halftime advantage.
Coffeyville had a chance to tighten the score at 28:42 of the second half, but Tiger goalkeeper Clayton Hixon registered a save with a high, two-handed swat just below the top crossbar.
Howser scored again at 25:27 and 13:00 of the second half, giving the Tigers a 4-0 lead. The goal completed the hat trick for Howser as he logged his seventh goal in two Regional playoff games.
Coffeyville scored its lone goal of the afternoon at 4:41 of the second period as a Nick Schnoor kick slowly rolled past the backside foot of Hixson.
The Tigers logged 12 shots on goal to Coffeyville's seven.
With the win, Fort Scott (13-5) advances to the state quarterfinals. Official announcements of who and where the Tigers play will be made by the Kansas State High School Activities Association this morning. Coffeyville ended its season at 9-6-1.
Last year, Gray's Tigers fell in the Regional championship game. Thursday's win takes the Tigers deeper into the playoffs than they have ever been and Howser couldn't be happier.
"It feels great to be part of this," Howser said. "I couldn't be more proud of this team right now. If we play just like we've been playing, we've got it. We can do this - we had a great goalkeeper and lost him (Brett Allen), but we have a great one coming in for us now (Hixon)."
Allen, a four-year starter at goalkeeper, broke his leg in the Tigers' last regular season game, a 4-1 win over Paola.
Fort Scott advanced to Tuesday's quarterfinals by defeating a familiar opponent in the Golden Tornado. The Tigers defeated Coffeyville 3-1 in a lightning-shortened game at Ellis Park on Sept. 25, but lost 2-1 on Oct. 11 at Coffeyville.
Gray said he believes the difference Thursday was that his players realized the importance of this game and their playoff experience from last year.
"I think it was the stage, probably," Gray said. "We came into the Regional final last year and didn't know what to expect. This is a team full of guys that played in that Regional final last year and they knew what to expect and I think that was the biggest difference -- just that confidence."
Gray had high praise for the Tigers' effort against Coffeyville on Thursday.
"I thought that was maybe the best 80 minutes of soccer that's ever been played in Fort Scott history," Gray said. "I thought the ball movement was really well done. There was nothing to complain about, I have no complaints at all. There's no one that played poorly. Clayton (Hixon) did a great job at keep for us and Jonas Jones coming off the bench with a goal and assist -- I thought that was huge."
As for the mindset of his team heading into the state quarterfinals, Gray seems pleased.
"I think we are confident," Gray said. " It wasn't expected for us to be here at the beginning of the year. We lost a lot of seniors that did a lot of great things for us last year, but these kids wanted to make sure they were the first to represent us in the state quarterfinal and they got it done.
"Twelve years is way too long."