Busters don't miss beat sans Miller, healthy Jones
By SCOTT NUZUM
Special to The Telegram
FORT SCOTT — A rainy Saturday on a slightly muddy Frary Field should have added another layer of difficulty for Garden City Community College on a long road trip.
But the 14th-ranked Broncbusters, without head coach Matt Miller for this game due to illness, and playing without quarterback Akeem Jones the majority of the time due to an ankle injury, didn't have much trouble disposing of Fort Scott, 33-14, in Jayhawk Conference play.
Garden City High graduate Jake Curran filled in and completed 10-of-18 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. Jones played for a stretch in the second quarter and went 4-of-9 for 26 yards but was clearly hindered by the injury. Curran played the entire second half.
"Curran's our guy," Broncbuster defensive coordinator Jeff Kelly, filling in for Miller, said. "Right now, he's the guy at the helm and that's the way we've got to play it. We put Akeem in to let him get some reps, to see some things and not let him have a week off. It's good for us. We gotta have him. We want him healthy."
Garden City (4-1, 2-1 KJCCC) sets up a first-place showdown with Butler (4-1, 3-1), which had a bye, at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Buffalo Stadium. The Broncbusters didn't let themselves overlook the 'Hounds, which the coaching staff countered by not bringing up a match-up that could decide the regular-season championship.
"We preached that all week," Kelly said. "We didn't even mention Butler. We came out and played. That's it."
Fort Scott (0-6, 0-5) remains winless and will have a second consecutive losing season, the first time that's happened since the 2004 and 2005 seasons, during which the Greyhounds were on a 24-game losing streak.
The day was custom made for running backs that can handle a load, and Fort Scott was determined to use Jo-Nathan Alford as much as it could. He carried the ball 47 times for 188 yards. But the Broncbuster defense didn't let him break off big runs.
"I know they run the ball well," Kelly said. "(Alford) is one of the best running backs in this conference. The kid can play. We knew they were going to run the ball, and we just had to make the plays to stop them. They came out and did some things we knew they were going to do, and it just came down to us being prepared."
The Greyhounds finished with just 207 yards in total offense --¬ more than 200 yards below their season average --¬ as quarterback Jason Stewart completed only 5-of-13 passes for 40 yards and was picked off three times by the Buster defense.
"When they realized we couldn't throw the ball today, they packed the box," Fort Scott head coach Curtis Horton said. "It was getting frustrating because we've been able to move the ball quite well this season."
The scoring began quickly as speedster Tyreek Hill ran 61 yards for a touchdown on the third offensive play. Just two plays after that, D'Vonta Derricott, returning from a one-game suspension, intercepted a pass that set up the first of Tyler Peterson's four field goals, this from 22 yards out with 10:38 on the clock.
Fort Scott scored on the next possession as Stewart capped a 10-play drive with a quarterback sneak from two yards out with 7:18 to go.
Peterson connected on a pair of field goals in the second quarter, both from 32 yards out, which provided the halftime margin of 16-7.
Sam Green's interception set up a 33-yard TD scamper by Matt McDonald with 1:38 left in the third quarter, which made it 23-7.
Eric Wester Jr. picked off Stewart and returned it 33 yards to the Fort Scott 24-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter. That set up Peterson's 30-yard boot with 12:35 remaining.
Fort Scott scored late with Alford running along the right side and into the end zone from 21 yards out with 4:55 left. The Greyhounds went for the onside kick, but Brandon Snell picked it up and was able to return it 16 yards to the Fort Scott 30. Six plays later, Curran found Snell on a fade route in the end zone to cap the game's scoring with 54 seconds to go.
Hill rushed for 107 yards on 14 carries, and McDonald added another 64 on 14 totes as Garden City ran up 329 yards of total offense. The Busters had 18 first downs to just 12 for the Greyhounds. Snell caught 7 passes for 80 yards
Garden City 10 6 7 10 — 33
Fort Scott 7 0 0 7 — 14
GC — Hill 61 run (Peterson kick), 14:03
GC — FG Peterson 22, 10:38
FS — Stewart 2 run (Chavez kick), 7:18
GC — FG Peterson 32, 14:11
GC — FG Peterson 32, 8:33
GC — McDonald 33 run (Peterson kick), 1:38
GC — FG Peterson 30, 12:35
FS — Alford 21 run (Chavez kick), 4:55
GC — Snell 9 pass from Curran (Peterson kick), :54
First downs 18 12
Rushes-yards 44-196 52-167
Passing yards 133 40
Total offense 329 207
Passing 14-27-0 5-12-3
Sacked-yards lost 2-12 1-8
Punt returns 4-9 0-0
Kickoff returns 3-58 6-75
Interception returns 3-47 0-0
Punts-Avg. 7-30.6 10-33.2
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-0
Penalties-yards 9-89 10-99
RUSHING — Garden City: Hill 14-107, McDonald 14-64, Gerst 8-23, Jones 1-5, Peterson 1-0, Curran 6-minus 3. Fort Scott: Alford 47-188, team 1-minus 4, Stewart 3-minus 8, Buie 1-minus 9.
PASSING — Garden City: Curran 10-18-0-107, Jones 4-9-0-26. Fort Scott: Stewart 5-12-3-40.
RECEIVING — Garden City: Snell 7-80, Burchfield 2-28, Daniel 2-16, McDonald 1-6, Bean 1-6, Hill 1-minus 3. Fort Scott: Evans 2-5, Buie 1-26, Alford 1-5, Dangerfield 1-4.