STORY BY CORA TASSET
PHOTOS BY ALLISON SCHWEIZER
On Thursday, September 12th, The Fort Hays State Tigers hosted the Missouri Western Griffons for their first home game of the 2019 football season. The Tigers had a rough time and both teams seemed to be battling for the most punts in the game. The Griffons provided to be too much for FHSU, winning 28-17.
The Tigers won the toss and chose to defer; within the first few minutes, the Tigers held the Griffons off and forced them to punt 64 yards to the Tiger 25 yard line. During the ensuing drive, FHSU quarterback, Chance Fuller (14), made a 50-yard pass to Dandre Reed (80) putting them at the Griffon 12 yard line. The Tigers could not punch it in for a touchdown, but kicker, Dante Brown (40), hit a 22-yard field goal putting the Tigers up 3-0.
The Griffons and the Tigers had to punt on their next drives; after the Tiger punt Missouri Western fumbled the ball, and it was recovered by Fort Hays State; however, FHSU could not capitalize before the quarter ended with the Tigers leading 3-0 Tigers.
Fort Hays State started out the second quarter with the ball after the Griffon’s fumble. The Tigers attempted to move the ball, but couldn’t and had to try for a field goal at the 49-yard line, but came up short. The Griffons then turned around and came firing out for their first plays of the second quarter. A 37-yard touchdown pass from Wyatt Steigerwald (12) to Damen Wheeler Jr. (5) finally put Missouri Western on the board, as well as the field goal kick by Sam Aviles (19); putting the score to 7-3.
The Tigers received the ball, but had to punt again and then forced the Griffons to punt as well. After the punt the ball was touched by a Tiger, and recovered by a Griffon. On this drive Missouri Western was able to punch in another touchdown from the 20 yard connection of Steigerwald and Kyle Berry (2) putting the Griffons up 14-3.
The Tigers could not get a good connection made and had to punt once again allowing another Griffon touchdown, with a 12 yard run from Shamar Griffith (3) and another field goal making the score 21-3.
Fort Hays State and Missouri Western have another punt battle until finally the Griffons break it and attempt to score another touchdown. Tiger defensive back, Isiah Creal-Musgray (22) broke up a touchdown pass keeping the Griffons from getting on the board again before halftime.
Both teams punted twice during the third quarter and neither of them could get a score on the board. The Tigers came close, but the ball was intercepted by Missouri Western’s Tariq Stewart (25) in the endzone to end the third quarter and the score was still 21-3.
The Griffons and Tigers punted again until Fort Hays made a 28-yard touchdown pass from Fuller to Manny Ramsey (6). The Tigers attempted a 2-point conversion, but failed to put the score at 21-9. The Tigers kicked and held the Griffons to a punt yet again, and Missouri Western forced Fort Hays to punt as well. The Tigers punt was blocked and set up the Griffons at the 26-yard line. Markel Smith (6) of Missouri Western ran the ball in for a 6-yard touchdown, changing the score once again to 28-9.
On the Tigers last few drives of the game Fuller passes 48 yards to Harley Hazlett (87). Fuller then makes a few more passes until he connects with Hunter Budke (88) for a 4-yard touchdown pass, and in to Ramsey for the 2-point conversion making the score 28-17. An attempted on-side kick by FHSU was recovered by MWSU, ending the game.
Head coach for the Tigers, Chris Brown was disappointed in the way that the game turned out last night.
“We have got to have playmakers and we need to have players step up and do their jobs. Offense didn’t do very well, defense didn’t play like they were supposed to, and even special teams was struggling,” said Coach Brown.
“I still think we are a pretty good football team, but we just haven’t shown it; we just haven’t put it together. I don’t know what it is, they are just so used to winning and think it is going to come easy, but it’s not.”
Coach is now getting prepared for next week’s game and has put these two losses behind the team to help them get them a win.
Manny Ramsey a wide receiver and Kolt Trachsel a linebacker for the Tigers both played well, but in the end knew that their team needed to work through this rough start and focus on the next game.
“It just came down to the guys needing to do their assignments; here and there they were missing them and we need to correct that. It comes down to mental work and younger players, but I expect those young guys to step up and make the plays that we should have been making tonight,” stated Trachsel.
“It was really frustrating that we could not get anything started considering we worked on these plays at practice all week, then we can’t go in and execute them on offense. The Griffons were aggressive, but when our number is called we should be able to go out on the field and make those plays,” said Ramsey.
Even with their unusual 0-2 record, Trachsel and Ramsey are now determined to put the past two defeats behind them and focus on their next game.
This was the first home loss in the regular season for the Tigers since 2016, when they lost to the No. 1 ranked Northwest Missouri State team. Fort Hays State will be traveling to Washburn University to play at 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 21st.