STORY BY CAYDEN SANDERS
PHOTOS BY MADISON SHAPLAND, REBEKAH REED & CORYN HAHN
The Fort Hays football team hosted the Missouri Western Griffons for their first home game of the season Thursday. The key to the game for the Tigers was to limit yards after contact, but the Griffons’ offense was too much for the Tigers as MWSU earned 311 yards on the ground and 417 yards of overall offense on their way to a 35-19 win.
“From what I saw, our guys were talking bad angles and had bad wrap-ups for tackles, and if you have that, you won’t make the tackle,” Tigers Head Coach Chris Brown said.
The Griffons opened the game with a touchdown; runningback Brandon Hall broke open for a big run. On their third possession of the game, the Hall and the Griffons’ offense scored again with his second rushing TD of the game. On both drives, the Griffons pushed the ball down the field 75 yards doing so on five and four plays respectfully. The Tigers’ offense got on the board with 22 seconds left in the quarter. Running back Adrian Soto led the drive with three rushes before hauling in a receiving touchdown.
In the second quarter, the Griffons’ offense ran down the clock with a significant possession that ultimately ended in a touchdown. Jared Scott ran to the weak side of the Tigers’ defense and was free to walk into the endzone.
“I’ve got to start making our practices more physical, our guys on the line aren’t pushing the line we want them to,” Brown said. “I need to put the team in situations where we can survive in games and not hang our heads from just a few plays.”
The Griffons’ scored again on the Tigers as they pushed the ball 85 yards down the field for 11 plays. The Tigers’ offense found a way to the endzone again with a Soto run up the middle to push the score to 35-19.
While the Griffons’ offense ended with 417 yards, the team was carried by the rushing yards by the running backs, Scott (125), Hall (104), and quarterback Reagan Jones (79). The team ended with 311 rushing yards on the night, but the team also had 106 passing yards from Jones.
The Griffons’ linemen on both sides of the ball gave the Tigers fits as MWSU kept winning the line of scrimmage, from the first whistle to the last.
“Watching the game, I thought we got dominated at the line. Which shouldn’t happen with our guys; we should be physical up front,” Brown said
The Tigers did start a new chapter at the quarterback position, as Chance Fuller sustained an injury last week against Northwest Missouri State. FHSU was forced to put in Jack Dawson. In his first college start as a sophomore, Dawson had 243 yards through the air. His longest pass was to Manny Ramsey, which ended in a Tiger touchdown.
“Jack [Dawson] is talented; he knows our playbook in and out, just like Chance [Fuller] does.” Brown said, “He had an excellent night; one thing was the interception right before halftime.”
Brown stated he could not talk about Fuller’s injury at the moment, but he will be out for a couple more weeks.
“It’s probably another week away. It just depends on all the rules and the type of injury,” Brown said.
The Tigers’ offense had two players with 100 yards – Ramsey and Soto. Ramsey earned 123 yards, breaking his record of 100 yards against Pitt State last season. Soto broke his single-game record of 100 rushing yards with 101 yards from scrimmage on Thursday.
“I talked to the guys, and I said that we started 0-2 last season, and that team fell apart; it’s time to look in the mirror now and figure out if we are going to work as a team and as individuals to keep working hard for this season,” Brown said.
The Tigers move 0-2 on the season; they will be on the road next Saturday at Lincoln. The game is set to start at 6 p.m. Fans can watch the game on the MIAA Network.