Courtesy: Washburn Athletics
HAYS, Kan. – The Washburn Ichabods led 20-10 at the break, but could not hold the lead as they were outscored 27-0 in the second half by the No. 8 Fort Hays State Tigers as Washburn fell 37-20. Washburn returns home next week to face Central Missouri for Homecoming at Yager Stadium in a battle for third place in the MIAA standings.
The Tigers (7-0, 7-0 MIAA) took an early lead on a 29-yard field goal by Brandon Brown with 6:41 to play in the opening quarter. After a 52-yard pass from Blake Petersonto Will Hamilton on the first play of the drive, the Ichabods (5-2, 5-2 MIAA) would continue to move down the field, but the drive stalled and Perry Schmiedeler capped the drive with a 35-yard field goal of his own to tie the score at 3-3 with 5:26 left in the quarter.
On the Tigers’ ensuing drive D.J. Olmstead picked off Jacob Mezera’s and returned it 60 yards for a score for his sixth interception of the season and his third one returned for a touchdown breaking the Ichabod single-season record for the most touchdown returns in a season breaking the previous record shared by Fletcher Terrell (2005), Dave Bowen (1970) and Zuri Stokes (1996).
With the Ichabods leading 10-3, Schmiedeler connected on his second field goal of the day with a 36-yard conversion with 10:28 left in the first half.
After a pair of punts by both teams, the Tigers would score and cut the Ichabod lead to 13-10 with 5:48 to play in the half.
Neither team would score until Peterson hit James Brania-Hopp on a 22-yard strike with 18 seconds to play in the half as the Ichabods took a 20-10 lead into the break.
To start the second half, the Tigers went on an 8-play, 75-yard drive trimming the Ichabod lead to 20-17. The scoring drive was aided by a roughing the punter penalty call on the Ichabods and four plays later the Tigers took advantage and scored.
After a punt by the Ichabods, the Tigers connected on a 30-yd field goal tying the score at 20 with 3:59 to play in the third quarter.
The Tigers used a 12-play, 87-yd drive to go up 27-20 with 12:36 to play in the game.
Washburn drove down to the Tiger 19 yard line, but came up short on fourth down and Fort Hays State took over 8:50 to go.
The Tigers went up 34-20 in the fourth quarter when Mezera hit Tyler Bacon on a 30-yard touchdown strike as FHSU scored its 24th unanswered points against the Ichabods with 5:04 to play in the game.
FHSU added a field goal with 3:09 remaining wrapped up the scoring and the 37-20 win for the Tigers.
Washburn was held to 291 yards of offense on 64 plays while the Tigers had 549 yards on 83 plays. Washburn was outgained 267 to 47 on the ground in the game. Washburn was outgained 174 to 8 in the third quarter and 145 to 81 in the fourth.
Mickeel Stewart had 28 rushing yards to lead the Ichabods on seven carries. Brania-Hopp had career-highs of nine receptions for 122 yards and one score for Washburn and Peterson was 18 of 38 passing for 244 yards and one score.
Heath Tucker led the Ichabod defense with a career-high 10 tackles with seven solo stops and Josh Wright had nine tackles with eight solo stops. Derrick McGreevy had eight tackles with one for loss and five solo stops.