The Fort Hays State football team was finally able to satisfy the cravings that have persisted since the fall 2020 football season was canceled.
Scrimmage organized with Southwestern Oklahoma State on Saturday gave the Tigers their first game setting in 16 months.
FHSU achieved a 31-3 victory over the Bulldogs in the unofficial game at Lewis Field Stadium.
It was good to get back on the football field, said Tiger coach Chris Brown. You can see we hadn’t played a real game in 16 months. You can see they were very young at this point. We have a lot of guys who have to sort out our offense and defense, learn how to play a little more physically on both sides of the ball. But it felt good to be out there. I think our kids enjoyed being out there.
Kickoffs and kicks were eliminated for the scrimmage and quarterbacks were not allowed to be hit.
Most of all, Brown said it was good for the Tigers to take on someone other than themselves.
It’s getting old to beat each other up week after week, he said. We have been doing that for a long time. It was good for our kids to go out again and play a different opponent.
Highlights for the Tigers included two touchdown passes from starting quarterback Chance Fuller. Hunter Budke made a nice reach in the end zone for a score of 14 yards. Fuller later hit Diante Crutchfield downfield for a score of 74 yards.
Junior transfer Keylan Chapman broke loose for a touchdown run of 79 meters. Chapman, a transfer from Southwestern (Calif.) College, unofficially had 135 yards rushing.
He is a strong kid. We just have to try and get him to stop jumping and running through people, Brown said. I saw him do that a few times today, break some tackles and go out and take it home. Those are the plays we need from him week after week.
Fuller threw unofficially for 149 yards before making way for backup Voshon Waiters late in the second quarter.
[Fuller] did well, said Brown. You play against another team from another conference that you have never played before. You play these teams in your conference and you get used to what they do, but when you see someone else attacking and defending, you’re going to mess around a bit until you see it in front of you. And the speed alone, practice is very different from games. It was good for us to get out and do it.
Waiters threw a 17-meter TD to Adrian Soto in the second quarter and kicker Fernando Avila-Castro had a 32-meter field goal for the only points of the second half.
FHSU forced four sales, including interceptions of Jordan Starks and Tyler Cummings.
The Tigers allowed a field goal in the first quarter before holding the Bulldogs off the board for the remainder of the game.
They settled down a bit, Brown said. I thought they did pretty well at times playing physically, making some tackles and finishing.
Spring break is next week for the Tigers. FHSU will play another scrimmage at Colorado Mines on April 10.
They get the whole week off to recuperate and get their feet under it, and hopefully those are the things they do and make the right decisions so they could play on April 10th. Spring break always scares you as a coach, Brown said. But when we come back, we have to go to the COVID test again and see where our kids are. Then you have to practice for a week and then prepare well for the mines.
Brown said the Tigers enjoyed playing in front of fans again.
There was a pretty good crowd today and they were making pretty good noise, he said. It was good to get back to normal after we all went through this last year. I cannot thank (the fans) enough for everything they have done for us, and I hope they continue to support us. Hopefully we can keep doing shows for them and put on a better show next time.
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