(Kenny Felt/Exclusive to the Tribune)
Out of the playoff picture and without enough victories to go to a bowl game, Greyhound head coach Curtis Horton and his staff decided to throw in some wrinkles. And they began with the second offensive play of the day as Fort Scott (4-5) routed Arkansas Baptist College, 51-32.
"We took the approach this week that this was our bowl game," Fort Scott head coach Curtis Horton said. "In bowl games, you empty the playbook. And we (ran) 'Big Baby,' 'Jarhead,' and 'Peanut Butter' and all that stuff and it worked really well."
After the defense forced the Buffaloes to punt on the game's opening possession, the offense struck quickly. Running back Stanley Hagan found 14 yards to the ABC 44-yard line on the fist play. Next, quarterback Owen Jordan tossed a backward pass to receiver Courtney Ward, who in turn hit receiver Griffith Gans in stride for a touchdown with 13:24 on the clock in the quarter.
Arkansas Baptist (1-9) came back to get its first touchdown on a 20-yard pass from LeRoy Hollins to running back Nicholas Julien with 11:15 to to. Since ABC doesn't have a placekicker, the Buffaloes had to go for two points after every score and this time Demetris Lasker found the end zone to give them what would be their only lead of the game, 8-7.
Gans hauled in his second TD pass of the day, a 13-yarder from Jordan, with 3:25 on the clock. Mark Whitrock's extra point was blocked, so it was 13-8. That score was set up by an interception by defensive end William Bland, who leaped up over his blocker, grabbed the ball with one hand, and managed to run a few yards downfield even though the offensive lineman was still on him.
Fort Scott's next score was set up by a fumble recovery by sophomore defensive lineman Justin Taimatuia. He tried to turn it into a score right off the bat, rumbling downfield to the ABC 12 before lateraling to Kevin Short while stiffarming a Buffalo player. Short got to the end zone but the officials rules the stiffarm was an illegal use of hands to the face. However, Hagan picked up Taimatuia on the very next play, running in from 30 yards out with 2:39 left in the first. The PAT kick made it 20.
Hollins threw a 29-yard TD pass to Tyrone Carter with 1:33 left and Lasker ran in from 4 yards out with 9:04 to go until halftime. But since the Buffaloes didn't make any of their other 2-pointers on the day, the score was only tied 20-20.
Short put the Greyhounds ahead for good with a 31-yard interception return with 2:49 left in the half. Fort Scott was unable to make a 2-point conversion, so the halftime score was 26-20.
Then the 'Hounds started reading deep into the bag of tricks. With 10:19 go to, Chris Mayer scored his first college touchdown on a 3-yard run. That may not sound unusual.
But Mayer is the Greyhounds' right offensive tackle. This was the "Big Baby" play Horton spoke of. Mayer stepped back from his tackle position, took the handoff from Jordan and ran around the left side of the line. Any player can run with the ball at any time as long as they're behind the player they get the ball from (being in front of them would make that a forward pass and Mayer would have been an ineligible receiver).
Hollins hooked up with Collins on an 85-yard touchdown pass with 3:05 left in the third to bring Arkansas Baptist within 32-26. But Ward returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards and Whitrock's PAT made it 39-26 with 2:50 to go.
Mayer scored again on the exact same play as his first score with 14:55 left in the game, this time on a 1-yard tackle around to make it 45-26. Whitrock added a 32-yard field goal with 11:09 to go.
Carter and Hollins teamed up for their third touchdown of the day with 9:59 to go on a 32-yard pass.
On the ensuing drive, Short went into the game on offense to run a few plays out of the Wildcat formation, then played a couple of downs at receiver. Whitrock hit from 33 yards out at the end of that drive with 6:51 to go.
There was no more scoring but Fort Scott used Short in some more Wildcats plays and even put linebacker Stephan Martin in at tailback and gave him a couple of carries.
The offensive numbers were very close, though Fort Scott was more balanced. The 'Hounds gained 497 yards in total offense and had 20 first downs while the Buffs had 475 total yards and 18 first downs.
Fort Scott rushed for 266 yards and passed for 213. Hagan gained 179 yards on 32 carries and finishes the season with 1,230 yards. He's second in the Jayhawk Conference behind Hutchinson's Terrell Lane, who has 1,486 yards. Jordan struggled with his passing, completing just 8 of 24 attempts for 169 yards. Hagan caught 2 passes for 77 yards, Gans 2 for 57 and Ward 2 for 55.
The Buffaloes rushed for just 55 yards on 28 carries but Hollins completed 23 of 51 passes for 420 yards for Arkansas Baptist. Hollins also threw 4 interceptions. Short picked off two of those passes to extend his school career record to 10 interceptions. The old record was held by Coryell Judie, who intercepted 7 passes in his FSCC stint, 2007-08.
"(Short's) up there with some good company," Horton said. "(Kansas) has offered him. LSU has talked to him and Alabama called on him. It'll be interesting to see what happens with him and we wish him the best of luck."
ARK. BAPTIST 14 6 6 6 -- 32
FORT SCOTT.. 20 6 13 12 -- 51
|Team stats||ABC||Fort Scott|
|Punt returns||1-minus 4||5-31|
FS -- Gans 44 pass from Ward (Whitrock kick), 13:24 [2, 58, :28]
ABC -- Julien 20 pass from Hollis (Lasker run), 11:15 [6, 72, 2:04]
FS -- Gans 13 pass from Jordan (kick blocked), 3:25 [3, 29, :50]
FS -- Hagan 30 run (Whitrock kick), 2:39 [1, 30, :06]
ABC -- Carter 29 pass from Hollins (pass failed), 1:33 [4, 49, :57]
ABC -- Lasker 4 run (run failed), 9:04 [8, 70, 2:44]
FS -- Short 61 interception return (pass failed), 2:49
FS -- Mayer 3 run (run failed), 10:19 [4, 36, 1:31]
ABC -- Carter 85 pass from Hollis (run failed), 3:05 [2, 85, :17]
FS -- Ward 85 kickoff return (Whitrock kick), 2:50
FS -- Mayer 1 run (pass failed), 14:55 [6, 67, 2:02]
FS -- FG Whitrock 32, 11:09 [5, 51, 2:00]
ABC -- Carter 32 pass from Hollis (pass failed), 9:59 [4, 55, 1:06]
FS -- FG Whitrock 33, 6:51 [9, 29, 3:02]
RUSHING: Arkansas Baptist -- Julien 9-53, Tillman 1-13, Lasker 10-12, Hil 1-0, team 1-minus 10, Hollins 6-minus 13. Fort Scott -- Hagan 32-179, Ward 3-39, Short 4-27, Fenelon 4-16, Rooks 5-6, Mayer 2-3, Martin 2-3, Jordan 5-minus 1, team 2-minus 7.
PASSING: Arkansas Baptist -- Hollins 23-51-4-420. Fort Scott -- Jordan 8-24-1-169, Ward 1-1-0-44.
RECEIVING: Arkansas Baptist -- Thomas 5-39, Carter 4-195, Brown 4-76, Walters 4-52, Winfield 2-16, Julien 1-20, Johnson 1-12, Tillman 1-8, Hill 1-2. Fort Scott -- Hagan 2-77, Gans 2-57, Ward 2-55, Short 1-22, McPahull 1-4, Rooks 1-minus 2.
MISSED FIELD GOALS: None.