Playing in 10 games as a redshirt freshman, Fort Hays State quarterback Chance Fuller stepped into some big time games, and made some big time plays for the back-to-back MIAA champion Tigers.
FHSU head coach Chris Brown doesn’t expect much to change for the 6-foot-3 gunslinger from Arlington, Texas.
The only thing that’s different is he’ll head into the fall knowing he’s the guy to lead the two-time defending conference champs.
The righty put his strong arm and leadership skills on full display at Saturday’s annual Spring Kickoff at Lewis Field Stadium.
“He doesn’t change,” Brown said of Fuller, who guided the No. 1 offense to a score on its opening drive Saturday. “He’s just out here to compete and make himself better, and make his team better. He’s a great leader for everyone.”
Right out of the gate, Fuller went to a familiar target in senior Harley Hazlett. The Abilene product caught three passes on the opening drive — one for 30 yards — and caught a 2-yard touchdown.
“Harley’s there when he says,” Fuller said. “He’s always open. I trust him.”
He found a little more trust in spreading it around the rest of the first half Saturday. Fuller’s second drive with the 1s ended in a punt, but his third opportunity, he hit senior tight end Jacoby Williams for 27 on third-and-29. That set up senior Dante Brown for a successful 40-yard field goal attempt.
“It feels good, I am excited,” Fuller said, referencing being the starting QB as the team prepares for summer workouts. “Great team behind us. We’re ready, excited.”
In 10 games played last season — two starts ahead of Jacob Mezera — Fuller completed 92 of 141 passes with seven touchdowns to four interceptions.
“We stayed healthy for the most part, got to put on a show pretty much for everyone,” Fuller said of Saturday’s scrimmage. “Offense played well, defense played well. Just pretty good overall.”
Fuller will have the Tigers’ top nine pass catchers returning, including Hazlett, Layne Bieberle, Matt Wendelberger, running backs Charles Tigner and D.J. Hickman and Andrew Jay. All but Bieberle and Wendelberger — who haven’t participated much this spring — were busy on the field Saturday.
“It went well (Saturday),” Coach Brown said. “The kids did a good job of staying off the ground, staying healthy.
“They competed hard, competed very well.”
The scrimmage provided a glimpse into who might take over the backup QB role this fall, provided the Tigers don’t seek a transfer option for that spot. Backup Blake Sullivan, a redshirt freshman from Goddard, made good on his first chance. He connected on passes to Hays High product Collyn Kreutzer along with D’Andre Reed, setting up a 28-yard Brown field goal. He later threw an interception, but rebounded on another drive for a 3-yard TD strike to Ellis product Brendon Brenner. He also hit Kreutzer on third-and-11 from the 13 for a score. He later was picked off in the end zone by Isaiah Creal-Musgrave.
Florida transfer (ASA College-Miami) Voshon Waiters threw one interception — one that would have been a pick 6 — but completed a TD pass on the game’s final play.
“Offense has done some great things and defense has done some great things (this spring),” Coach Brown said. “We did get some things accomplished, but still wanted to have some fun, stay relaxed.”
The spring kickoff included several activities through for the fans to get involved. Among them, Tiger senior women's basketball player Tatyana Legette caught a pass from Fuller on her second attempt, and Dante Brown's mother — a former soccer player — kicked an extra point. The longest play of the day came from the 5-year-old running back at the end of the festivities.
Give it up for @FHSUWBB senior Tatyana Legette with the catch. pic.twitter.com/DBo3wL5n4Y— Nick McQueen (@HDNmcqueen) April 13, 2019