Penalties, blocked punts, five turnovers and big plays given up is not the recipe for success on the football field.
Iola High’s Mustangs remain winless this season after visiting Fort Scott High’s Tigers ripped off a 69-21 victory here Friday night. The Tigers beat Iola for the first time in three years.
The loss came in their final Southeast Kansas League game of the season. They are 0-7 in league and overall.
Iola is 0-1 in Class 4A District 6 play while Fort Scott (4-3) is 1-0. In the other district game Friday, Anderson County got past Prairie View 36-31.
Iola plays at Anderson County High in Garnett next Friday. The Mustangs finish up the season at home against Prairie View Thursday, Oct. 28.
“We had a good initial drive but again silly mistakes cost us throughout the game,” said Rick Horton, Mustang head coach. “We have a good drive going and a penalty then we have the punt blocked.”
The Mustangs moved the football from their own 30-yard line to the Fort Scott 45 before stalling out on the opening possession of the game. It appeared Iola would punt and pin the Tigers deep in their own territory.
Fort Scott’s Straton Hunziker blocked Kyle Heffern’s punt. Brady Fink scooped up the football and returned the blocked kick 55 yards for a touchdown.
Griffin Knopp kicked the extra point. He would be busy all night for the Tigers.
Knopp had two interceptions defensively, one returned 82 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. He caught five passes of 185 yards and a touchdown plus he kicked nine extra points.
Knopp picked off a Charles Apt pass at the 7:41 mark of the first quarter at the Tiger 44-yard line. He caught a 51-yard pass to set up a one-yard touchdown run by Jaret Thorpe.
Thorpe scored three touchdowns on the night for the Tigers.
On Iola’s next drive, Apt fumbled the football away. The Mustang defense stopped the Tigers on a fourth-and-one at the Iola 21.
Kyle Heffern, Stephen McDonald and Marcus Sullivan combined to hold Kelsey Adams to no gain. But on the preceding play, Apt suffered an elbow injury.
Mason Coons took over at quarterback and completed a 15-yard pass to Jerrik Sigg. But on a strong run by Sullivan a holding penalty pushed the Mustangs back.
Horton made the decision to go for a fourth-and-three at the Mustangs’ own 43 with 1:40 left in the first quarter.
Coons’ pass was incomplete. Fort Scott’s Dane Cummings ripped off a 41 yard run and Thorpe scored from two yards out.
Iola was in a 21-0 hole and it got deeper. By the 2:43 mark of the second period, the Mustangs trailed 35-0.
John Whitworth made a nice run back on the ensuing kickoff for Iola. The Mustangs were aided by a face mask penalty against Fort Scott on the play.
Coons hooked up with Dylan Allen twice and the Mustangs were on the scoreboard. The first pass went for 13 yards and the second one resulted in a 46-yard touchdown play. Allen kicked the extra point.
Sigg came up with an interception for Iola with 1:15 left in the first half. Four plays later Coons’ pass was intercepted by Fort Scott’s Johnathan Stark.
“We just continue to find ways to shoot ourselves in the foot,” Horton said of the Mustangs’ play on the night.
“We had another injury tonight. Charles went out with the elbow and we’ll have to see if he can come back.”
Fort Scott scored on big plays to push its lead to 56-7 by the 7:05 mark of the third quarter. It was a quarter of scoring frenzy — 48 points were scored by the two teams.
A fumble recovery by Iola’s Zeph Larney set up a one-yard touchdown plunge by Sullivan. Kyle Heffern recovered a short kickoff to set Iola up for a possible score.
But Knopp intercepted the pass and went 82 yards for the score. Back came the Mustangs as Sullivan had a 45-yard scoring run then McGehee scored his third touchdown of the night, a 53-yard romp, with 58 seconds on the clock.
The fourth quarter was played with a running clock.
Iola allowed 384 points this season by opponents. That’s almost 59 points a game. The Mustangs have scored 139 points in seven games.
Sullivan finished up with 117 yards on 22 carries. Sigg caught 10 passes for 105 yards.
Coons was 11 of 26 for 137 yards passing. Apt was 1 of 4 for 28 yards.
Kyle Heffern led the defense with three solo tackles, nine unassisted and fumble recovery. McDonald had one solo stop and eight assisted tackles.
Sullivan had one unassisted and four assisted tackles. Sigg and Ralph Shafer each had two solo tackles and one assisted tackle. Larney had two unassisted tackles.
Fort Scott 21-14-34-0—69
Fort Scott — Fink 55 yd blocked punt return (Knopp kick)
Fort Scott — Jar. Thorpe 1 yd run (Knopp kick)
Fort Scott — Jar. Thorpe 2 yd run (Knopp kick)
Fort Scott — Knopp 73 yd pass from Swim (Knopp kick)
Fort Scott — McGehee 2 yd run (Knopp kick)
Iola — Allen 46 yd pass from Coons (Allen kick)
Fort Scott — Jar. Thorpe 19 yd run (Knopp kick)
Fort Scott — Swim 55 yd run (Knopp kick)
Iola — Sullivan 1 yd run (Allen kick)
Fort Scott — Knopp 82 yd interception return (Knopp kick)
Iola — Sullivan 45 yd run (Allen kick)
Fort Scott — McGehee 53 yd run (kick failed)