Tigers set to wrap season in Tahlequah on Saturday vs Northeastern State

BY MAKENNA ALLEN

This week in Tiger football, the team is working to recover from the crushing 36-33 loss to Northwest Missouri State in double overtime.  The defeat snapped Fort Hays’ 7-game win streak and quashed any hope of progressing to playoffs for the season. After the loss, the team dropped from the D2Football.com Top 25 Poll.  However, the Tigers are still receiving votes in the AFCA Top 25 Poll.  

Perhaps more significant for the Tigers than any position in the two polls is their ranking in the NCAA Super Region 3.  The Tigers sat at No. 9 last week and had a shot at playoffs after Missouri Western and Grand Valley State fell on Saturday.  

It all depended on the Tigers’ performance against the Bearcats.  Despite the hard-fought battle, the Tigers were unable to pull out a victory.  Now, Northwest sits within reach of playoffs at No. 6 in the super region. Other MIAA schools among the ranks include the undefeated Central Missouri at No. 2 and Missouri Western at No. 10.  

Even though the Tigers are no longer looking towards playoffs, they still have a chance to rack up their fifth straight season of at least eight wins under head coach, Chris Brown.  What’s more, if the Tigers are able to pull out another victory this season, this year’s senior class will be the winningest in program history by win percentage with a record of 36-11.  However, Brown said the team will not play in a bowl game even if they are invited. 

This week, Tiger football travels to Tahlequah, Ok. to take on the 0-10 Northeastern State University Riverhawks for their final game of the 2019 season. 

The Riverhawks remain winless after their 82-14 defeat by the University of Central Oklahoma last weekend.  While the Tigers took on the Bearcats, UCO won the President’s Cup for the second year straight.  

During the game, senior tailback, Kevin Jackson, led the offense on the ground with 44-yards and two rushing touchdowns that marked the only points for the team during the game.  Both of those touchdowns, as well as interception by linebacker, J’Quille Washington, occurred in the second quarter. UCO dominated the rest of the game, holding the Riverhawks below their season averages.  

Currently, the team averages 92.5 rushing yards and 141.6 passing yards per game.  These stats can be compared to the Tigers who have 132.8-yards on the ground and an average of 328-yards in the air.  The Tigers also put up, on average, 36.4-points against their opponent while the Riverhawks average 10-points.

Another comparison that can be drawn between the two teams is in their play against Northwest Missouri.  Indeed, the Riverhawks faced the Tigers’ last opponent just one week before the team traveled to Hays. The result of that game proved disastrous for the Riverhawks who fell to the Bearcats, 79-0.  

The win provided the Bearcats their greatest margin of victory in program history.  The Tigers also set a school record in this category with their 66-6 defeat of Lincoln University earlier this season.  However, Lincoln’s game against the Riverhawks resulted in the former’s only win of the season (27-9). 

Though the playoffs may no longer be at stake for Fort Hays, this week means a chance to go 8-3 for the season in what Brown believes has been a year of growth for his team.  

“8-3 to me is nowhere near good enough and they see that as well,” Brown said.  “That starts with the beginning of the season, giving up two losses early. But they battled back with 7 straight wins.  That’s hard to do in this conference and our kids did it and they rallied around each other and believed in the coaching staff.  It all started there.”

Help the Tigers rally for this eighth victory of the season as they take on the Riverhawks in Ok..  Tune in for kickoff at 2:00 p.m. with an MIAA Network subscription or check-in for live updates through the FHSU Athletics page. 

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