"We came out soft … soft," freshman defensive lineman Ian Knight said. "Coach gave us a game plan and we didn't execute. It was our fault, that simple."
Fort Scott (4-0, 3-0 Jayhawk Conference) and Butler are the lone remaining unbeaten teams in the conference with Hutchinson and Independence losing on Saturday. The Blue Dragons (3-1, 2-1) have to rebound from this loss quickly with No. 5 Butler coming to Gowans Stadium next Saturday night.
It was a nightmarish start for Hutchinson. HCC's first four possessions concluded with a lost fumble, a punt, Angelo Pease's first interception of the season and a fumble. Fort Scott got short rushing touchdowns from Jasmine Hopkins (PHOTO), Nick Woods and Dominique Davis to lead 21-0 with 11:37 to play in the second quarter.
"They did a good job of capitalizing on our mistakes," HCC head coach Rion Rhoades said. "(Fort Scott's) done a good job all year cashing in on turnovers. That's how it was in the first half for sure."
The Greyhounds put the clamps on Hutchinson's No. 1-nationally ranked rushing offense that's put up 167 points in the three previous games. HCC was held to a season-low 120 yards rushing and 194 yards of total offense. The Dragons had a season-worst four turnovers. Hutchinson was also whistled for 10 penalties and 103 yards.
Hutchinson was shut out for the first time in 11 games. The last team to shut out Hutchinson was 11 games ago when Fort Scott downed HCC 20-0 in Gowans Stadium last season.
Freshman Chris Anderson had 61 yards on 17 carries to lead HCC. Sophomore Chris Clay was held to 36 yards on seven carries. Pease finished with 25 yards rushing. He went 6 of 16 passing for 74 yards and two interceptions. Sophomore Trezz Tillman had a career-high four receptions for 54 yards.
Davis, Fort Scott's quarterback, completed 15 of 20 passes for 274 yards, including an NJCAA record-tying 99-yard touchdown pass to Chad Peake in the fourth quarter.
The Greyhounds had 408 total yards (134 rushing and 274 passing). Hopkins, the Jayhawk Conference's leading rusher and second-leading running back in the NJCAA, rushed for 107 yards on 23 carries and one touchdown. C.J. Fondren caught six passes for 82 yards. Peake had three catches for 111 yards.
After Hutchinson fell behind 7-0, the Dragons mounted an eight-play, 57-yard drive that took the ball to the Fort Scott 27. But a holding penalty took the Dragons out of scoring position and were forced to punt. After that, two more HCC turnovers on its next two possessions and Fort Scott cashed them in for two touchdowns and a 21-0 lead with 11:37 to play in the second quarter.
"They were more disciplined than us and they outplayed us," Rhaodes said. "Those are two things that we try to hang our hat on ... to play harder and be more disciplined than they people we play against. That wasn't the case today."
GAME NOTES - HCC misses a bid to become the sixth team in Blue Dragon history to start a season 4-0. ... HCC is now 33-31-4 all-time against Fort Scott. ... This was Fort Scott's 12th shutout of Hutchinson in series history. ... Sophomore defensive end Adam Davis is now in sole possession of fourth place on the HCC career quarterbacks sack list with 15. ... HCC punter Schuyler Watson had seven points and a 42.3 yard-per-punt average. He dropped three inside the 20-yard line.
Head Coach Rion Rhoades
On Fort Scott's passing success ...
"When you try to stop one phase of the game, you make yourself weaker in another. I felt like we were in position to make a couple of those (defensive) and we didn't."
On preparing for next week …
"The discipline and to be ready to play no matter who we play next. The guys have to have a burning desire to go out and get after it. It has to mean something to them."
Sophomore Kendall Davis
On HCC's poor start to the game ...
"We came out dead and not as hard as we should have. We didn't come out with as much intensity as they did. You don't back down from a fight. This was our biggest challenge."
Freshman Angelo Pease
On HCC's poor start to the game ...
"They came out with more enthusiasm. We came out more lackadaisical. It was surprising. This is in the past. We have to put it behind us and get ready for next week. We have another big game."