The Griffons continued their winning ways with a big 58-31 win over MIAA foe Fort Hays State Tigers. The win didn’t come as easily as the first two games did, but, as anyone will tell you, a win is a win, and the Griffons are now 1-0 in MIAA conference play.
This was evident in the first quarter of play when both teams combined for a whopping 35 points. Fort Hays quarterback Mike Garrison hit senior running back Jacob Irvin for a 7-yard touchdown. The Griffons would strike back like the empire with a drive that averaged 10 yards a play. They capped off the drive with an 8-yard run from Thomas Hodges.
The Tigers would score next after wide out O.J. Murdock caught a touchdown pass for 39 yards. Hodges would answer the call again and rumble his way in to the end zone from three yards out. The action continued when Fort Hays scored from 23 yards out with no time left on the clock.
The second quarter saw a little bit more defense from the Griffons and a little bit of luck. Western was able to get in good field position after the Tigers muffed a punt. With the ball at the goal line, quarterback Drew Newhart pulled off a quarterback dive. Newhart would later give the Griffons the lead with a 49-yard touchdown pass to speedster Cedric Houston. Western’s kicker Brad Beckwith missed the extra point on that touchdown which would leave them with a six point lead. The Tigers would manage to get a field goal to make the score at the half 27-24.
Western came out the second half looking to take control of the game. Newhart hooked up with Houston for a 14- yard touchdown pass giving them the biggest lead of the game. Fort Hays tried to answer back with a drive of their own but with the ball at the Griffons’ ten, Garrison threw a pick to sophomore safety Nate Bruto. Bruto then ran it back 100 yards putting the game at a safe distance.
The Griffons were well prepared for this close encounter with the Tigers and a lot of the credit goes to the coaching staff.
“Our coaches have prepared us well each week, and us as an offense are clicking, having fun and playing physical,” Newhart said.
Offense lineman Andrew Gilmore, who helped the Griffons gain 147 yards on the ground, feels the same way as his quarterback.
“Each week we have been given a different look by the (opposing) defense, but we have great coaches and have come into games with a great game plan. We are prepared to win each week,” Gilmore said.
“Newhart is unbelievable so he just needs to keep doing that.”
The Griffons will try to stay unbeaten against the Washburn Ichabods on Hall of Fame/Family Day weekend. To do that, they need to slow down the Ichabods high powered offense, which scored 54 their last time out. Missouri Western will face Washburn on Sat., Sept. 12 at 6:00 p.m. in Spratt Stadium.