Listen to the complete game in our archives section
Fort Scott, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-Garden City Coach Jeff Sims admitted during the week that his team’s win over Highland in week one seemed like a lifetime ago.
The Broncbusters performance on Saturday reaffirmed their coach’s comments.
Devin Taylor carried the ball 34 times for 163 yards and two scores, and Fort Scott’s defense held Garden City to under 300 total yards for a fourth consecutive game as the Greyhounds beat the Broncbusters for a second straight year 36-20 at Frary Field.
“You watch their guys and as up-and-down as their season has been, you see a team,” Sims said afterwards. “We’re not a team yet. We’re getting there, we just aren’t there yet.”
No play signified how much Garden City’s season has gone south more than a scoring sequence in the third quarter.
Trailing 24-14, backup quarterback Todd Porter, who was filling in for the injured Jayru Campbell, drove the Broncbusters 64 yards in nine plays, punctuating the march with an eight-yard touchdown run where he beat linebacker Keenan Savage to the pylon. But Jonathan Harris blocked the extra point; Malcom Williams scooped it up, and as he was going down-flipped it back to Landon James-Wilson who returned it the final 60 yards to give Fort Scott two points.
So instead of pulling to within three, Fort Scott (2-6, 2-5) had a 26-20 lead with 10:36 to play in the third.
Garden City (1-7, 1-4) never reached the end zone again.
“The disappointing thing is that we’ve lost to teams that aren’t that good this year,” Sims said. “But what does that say about us?”
Taylor, who gashed Garden City for 238 yards in last year’s showdown at Broncbuster Stadium, added his second score of the afternoon in the final period: a two-yard touchdown run that gave the Greyhounds a 36-20 cushion with 8:48 to play in the game.
“Our guys are trying,” Sims acknowledged. “But I don’t think they’re believing. That’s the biggest difference.”
And Fort Scott’s offense was no juggernaut, which allowed Garden City to stay in the game. They just never took advantage of their opportunities.
After Blayke Lindenman booted through a 26-yard field goal to give the Greyhounds an early 3-0 lead, Campbell and the offense responded vibrantly-moving the ball 47 yards in 10 plays. Then on first-and-10 from the Fort Scott 18, Campbell lofted a perfect fade pass that Quincy Watts snagged away from Jakarri Hunt for a touchdown. That was the only time all day that the Broncbusters were in front.
The Greyhounds grabbed the lead back for good later in the first quarter. Facing a third-and-22 from the Garden City 29, quarterback Mike Glass hit one-time Broncbuster signal caller Danarious Graham for a 22-yard gain to the 7-yard line. Two plays later, Taylor found the end zone from four yards out, and Fort Scott had a 10-7 advantage.
“We just weren’t physical enough,” Sims said. “That’s been our problem all season. I feel bad for these kids; my coaches. All of us have to do a better job.”
Things went from bad to worse on Garden City’s next possession. As Campbell dropped back to pass on third-and-8 from his own 25, Florida-State commit Wally Aime landed on top of him. The freshman never played another down.
Porter tried to resurrect the offense on Garden City’s next series early in the second quarter. But his first pass attempt caromed off the fingertips of Eddie Morris and was intercepted by Hunt.
“We setup an offense that we thought would give these kids the best chance of succeeding,” Sims said. “But it hasn’t worked out that way. You see it; we just can’t run the ball.”
When Sims directed the Greyhounds to the National Title game in 2009, his running back Jasmin Hopkins led the nation with 1,931 rushing yards. To show how much things have changed since then: through eight games, Sims’ leading ground guy this year was Campbell, who had a 130 yards before a sack ended his day.
“That’s where we want to get to,” Sims said referring to his run game, which produced a season-high 115 yards on Saturday. “But our line just isn’t there yet.”
Meantime the Greyhounds offensive line finally found their groove, paving the way for their first 200-yard rushing performance of the season. Even Glass got into the act, keeping the ball on a zone-option read and rumbling nine yards for a touchdown that gave Fort Scott a 17-7 lead late in the second quarter.
Garden City inched closer when Porter dashed 22 yards to the end zone, capping off nine-play 66-yard drive that pulled the Broncbusters to within three 17-14 with 58 seconds left in the half. His touchdown run was the highlight of the day as he summersaulted over Wilson at the goal line.
But the Broncbuster defense let the air out of any chance Garden City had of taking a lead into the locker room. It took Fort Scott just 47 seconds to answer, thanks in large part to Taylor’s 30-yard run that set the Greyhounds up at the Garden City 17. On the very next play, Glass connected with Jamal Chevis on a slant play that went for six, and Fort Scott had a 24-14 halftime lead.
“I never envisioned our season playing out like this,” Sims admitted afterwards. “But we’re not going to stop working. We will get this thing right.”
In relief, Porter finished the day 11-of-28 for 102 yards and two interceptions. But he used his legs to the tune of 85 yards on 15 carries and two scores. Jeff Thomas caught a game-best eight balls for 64 yards, while Watts had seven catches for 95 and a touchdown.
Glass was 16-of-27 for 238 yards and a touchdown. He also added 11 rushes for 34 and a score. Williams had four catches for 65 yards; Chevis added three receptions for 22.
Notes: Garden City lost their seventh straight game-it’s the first time in program history that’s happened…Garden City has lost five out of their last six at Frary Field…Fort Scott has now won seven out of the last 10 meetings…Garden City has now gone 15 straight games without producing a 100-yard rusher…The three turnovers by Garden City brings their season total to 27…The Broncbusters allowed three more sacks (they’ve allowed 53 for the season)
Next up: Garden City at No. 3 Butler-Saturday, October 24-6:30 p.m. pregame; 7 p.m. kick on 99.9 FM ESPN; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and tuneinradio app: KWKR