Fort Hays offense falters against UCO in second half

BY CAYDEN SANDERS

PHOTOS BY RAEGAN NEUFELD

Central Oklahoma and Fort Hays State came off two different weekends entering Saturday’s game. UCO ended last weekend with a win against Northeastern State while Fort Hays looked to move away from the .500 mark given to them by Washburn last weekend in an overtime loss. The Tigers scored two touchdowns in the first half and did not score in the second half, losing 24-14 to the Bronchos.

“We need to just how to play hard and play physical all year long. They just need to figure it out, we are not physical offensively, we are not defensively, we just seem timid,” Head Coach Chris Brown said. “We are playing younger guys but that is no excuse. These players need to look into the mirror and figure out what they want to do for the rest of the season, if they want to quit or if they are wanting to improve even when they are not having a good season.”

Fort Hays started the game off their first drive of the game pushing the UCO defense 10 to 20 yards a play, ending the drive with Fuller pitching the option to second-string quarterback Vashon Waiters. 

UCO only needed two plays to answer before airing the ball to wide receiver Markiese King for a 59-yard touchdown with blown coverage from the Fort Hays secondary. The Broncos’ second drive got into the Tigers’ side of the 50 and showed the UCO coaching staff was willing to slow the game down, forcing the Tigers’ offense to not make mistakes. 

“I think the way we are playing right now is carrying over week one, not getting corrections made in practice, they are not going the things we are asking them. Everything that we are asking them is more of a suggestion instead of this is what we are telling you to do. “ Brown said, “ Our leadership is really lacking right now, holding guys accountable, in every way we are just not doing that.”

UCO finished their drive with a field goal to lead the Tigers 10-7. Chance Fuller gave the Bronchos another sack putting the Tigers in a 4th and 21 with 1:25 on the clock. The Tigers had the last scoring drive of the half as Fuller found Hunter Budke in the back of the endzone for a toe taping score as Fort Hays led the Broncos 14-10 to halftime. 

UCO elected to receive the football in the second half. On their first drive of the 3rd quarter, they went forth and out allowing the Tigers to get the ball at the 23rd. Fort Hays had the same outcome going forth and out. UCO found a way to get into the endzone on the next drive as Daunte McGee received the pass from Calhoon to take back the lead 17-14. 

UCO had scored again, pushing the bronco lead to 24-14 with 12:25 left in the game. 

With FHSU driving and looking to score, Adrian Soto fumbled the football, giving the ball back to the Bronchos. Fort Hays had the ball one final time in the game and did not find the end zone. 

“Our kids just seem to let off the throttle, but we don’t know how to finish, we don’t know how to keep the pedal down. I don’t know what we are good at right now and that’s the sad thing, and we just got to figure it out somehow.” Brown said. 

Fort Hays ended the game coming up short 24-14 and adding to the losing streak of two games. Fort Hays moves to 3-4 on the season. The Tigers go to Warrensburg to take on another regular-season underperformer from the MIAA preseason polls in Central Missouri next Saturday. 

“My frustration level is really high on my end with the way things are going, I am still trying to get these kids better week in and week out but it all comes down to whether if they want to do this or not. Is winning important or does it hurt if you lose,” Brown said. “We are going to tweak some things this week and I think we are going to talk to our captains and make sure that changes are going to be made.”

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