Phillipsburg, Kan. (westernkansasnews.com)–A pair of 9-1 teams faced of Saturday at Phillipsburg High School, and put on a heck of an effort. In an emotional roller coaster, a Trey O’Neil interception with 1:13 remaining sealed a victory for the Scott City Beavers, as they advance on to the sectional round of the Class 3A State playoffs for the seventh time in the last eight years, with a 24-21 victory Saturday afternoon.
Following a three-and-out by Phillipsburg, Scott City used a 13-play, 60-yard drive, and burned off nearly six minutes off the clock, as Martin Gough punched it in from a yard out with 4:22 remaining in the first quarter. Tre Stewart’s PAT gave the Beavers a 7-0 lead. The Panthers would respond two minutes later. With 2:11 remaining in the opening period, Riley Juenemann found Hunter Koehler for an 18-yard touchdown pass, and the Jaron Kellerman kick tied the game at seven, which would be the score after the first period.
A Scott City drive lasting seven minutes would give set up a Tre Stewart 32-yard field to give the Beavers a 10-7 lead with 7:22 left before the break. After trading possessions, Scott City would strike quickly right before halftime. Without any timeouts, a three-play, 46-yard drive would be capped off by a 21-yard touchdown reception by Chris Pounds from Trey O’Neil with 15 seconds left before halftime to make the score 16-7 at the break.
The third quarter would see its share of big plays by both teams. Two plays after Phillipsburg forced a Scott City punt, Grant Wickham found his way out of a pile at his own nine yard line, and took off for a 91-yard scamper with 8:18 remaining in the third quarter, and Kellerman’s extra point kick cut the Beaver lead to 16-14. Scott City would respond and push their lead back to a two possession game. On third and 11 from the Panther 35, Trey O’Neil would find a streaking Brayden Strine down the seam for a touchdown pass with 6:25 remaining in the third period. O’Neil would take it himself into the end zone for the two-point conversion to extend the Beaver lead to 24-14. On the second play of their next drive, Phillipsburg would strike quickly again. Wickham would have his second long touchdown run of the quarter. This time, he took the handoff around the left side, and found paydirt from 62 yards away with 5:16 remaining in the third quarter, and the lead would be cut to three on the Kellerman PAT at 24-21.
The Beavers would be pinned deep in their own territory on their next drive. They would take it from their own seven to the 36, when Michael Dusin intercepted O’Neil, and took it to the Scott City five. On fourth and goal from the two, the Beaver defense would step up for the first of many times in the final period, and drop Wickham for a four-yard loss.
After both teams would trade possessions, Scott City put together a solid drive into Panther territory. On third down from the Phillipsburg 14, Brayden Strine got the first down, but fumbled the ball, and the Panthers recovered. Phillipsburg would convert a fake punt on fourth and long for 12 yards for the first down. On the next play, Brayden Strine intercepted Juenemann off a tipped pass at the Panther 45 with 1:44 left in the game. The Beavers would go three-and-out and the Phillipsburg burned all three timeouts. Marshal Hutchins pinned the Panthers deep in their own territory with a punt down to the 16 yard line, and on the first play of the possession for Phillipsburg would turn the ball over on O’Neil’s interception. Three kneel down’s and Scott City escaped with the three-point win.
For the game, Trey O’Neil was 13-of-19 for 158 with two touchdowns and one interception. Wyatt Kropp led the team in rushing for a second straight week. The sophomore carried the ball 18 times for 86 yards, and Brayden Strine was the leading receiver with three receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown. Scott City finished with 394 yards of total offense, 211 on the ground and 183 in the air.
Phillipsburg was led by Grant Wickham, who had eight rushes for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Riley Juenemann was one-of-three for 18 yards and an interception. Hunter Kohler caught his lone pass completion of the afternoon. The Panthers finished with 273 yards of offense, 242 of those coming on the ground.
Scott City improves to 10-1 on the season. The Beavers not only won their 40th playoff game all time, but also won their 10th game of the season for the sixth straight year. Phillipsburg finished their year at 9-2.
Up next for Scott City is the Sectional round of the Class 3A State Playoffs, as they will travel to Conway Springs. The Cardinals are 11-0, and rallied from an early 8-0 deficit to win 34-23 over the Kingman Eagles Saturday night. This will be a matchup of the last two Class 3A State Champions. They both faced off in 2011 in Conway Springs, where the Cardinals won 39-21.