FORT SCOTT — A defensive masterpiece, punctuated by running back Ty Leedy’s monster rushing performance, lifted the Chanute Blue Comets to a convincing 41-0 road victory over the Fort Scott Tigers on Friday night.
The margin of victory was the second biggest in the history of the series between the two schools dating to 1917.
Ranking among the top defensive units in Class 4A, Chanute’s suffocating defense overwhelmed the beleaguered Tigers from start to finish. The Blue Comets have now held opponents scoreless for 12 consecutive quarters.
Chanute struck first via Eric Erbe’s 1-yard touchdown plunge, as the Blue Comets led 7-0 with 3:07 remaining in the opening frame.
Chanute extended its advantage early in the second quarter as Erbe connected with Kaiden Seamster down the left sideline for a 91-yard touchdown strike and a 14-0 Blue Comet lead.
The big plays continued for Chanute. Facing a fourth and 1 deep in their territory, Leedy took an inside handoff and busted loose for an 82-yard touchdown scamper, staking the Blue Comets to a 21-0 halftime advantage.
Chanute continued to feed Leedy in the second half. With 4:24 remaining in the third, the star back bolted 34 yards to paydirt. Kaleb Becannon tacked on the extra point for a 28-0 Blue Comet lead.
Chanute found the end zone twice more, via Jackson Coombs’ 5-yard run and Leedy’s third rushing touchdown, this one covering 43 yards, putting him at 210 yards on the evening.
The district victory moves Chanute to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in SEK League play, while Fort Scott tumbles to 1-5 on the season.
CHS head coach Clete Frazell said Leedy was the key factor in helping the offense move past its slow start.
“He was awesome,” Frazell said. “We talked about when things are hard we have to lean on our running game. And that’s the constant. Anytime you put the ball in the air, bad things can happen. If we’re off on some nights, the running game has to be able to carry the load.”
Frazell said he was also impressed with his offensive line’s showing.
“The offensive line played well, and Ty ran well,” he said. “And the result was a big performance for Ty. We were struggling in the passing game, struggling to get things going. So for Ty to step up and have a huge game behind our offensive line was good to see.”
Frazell touched on his club’s dominant defensive performance.
“They’re a good group,” he said. “A bunch of hard-nosed kids who do their job. The (defensive) coaches are doing a great job with those guys. We have 11 hats flying to the ball. It’s hard to gain yards when you have 11 mad Comets coming after you.”
Frazell said the game plan against a struggling Fort Scott squad was to be sharp and not focus on their rivals’ losing record.
“Just to execute our game, and focus on what we do — and do it well,” he said. “We did that in some aspects of the game tonight, and in other areas, we weren’t sharp.”
Frazell noted that defeating Fort Scott in such impressive fashion is a feat his program should be proud of.
“Anytime you can come to this place and win a game by 41 points is a big win,” he said. “Fort Scott has a lot of tradition, and they care about football. So we’re happy to be able to come in here and get a win.”
Frazell said his team has the potential to be special when they put it all together, but he does not believe they’re quite there yet.
“Not yet, but we’re getting closer,” he said. “Tonight was kind of a step back offensively. We’re going to have to be sharper than that to beat teams the next few weeks, as well as the playoffs.”
Chanute returns home for a clash with Coffeyville. Frazell said his squad needs to stay focused in order to keep its momentum going.
“We just have to focus on being a better team week-by-week,” he said. “Not worry about what we have to do to beat Coffeyville, but what we need to do to keep progressing as a team. So that will be our focus once again — just getting better each week.”