February 24, 2024

League crown back to Scott City!; Beavers hold off Tigers late

Scott City, Kan. (westernkansasnews.com)–On a cold and wet Friday night at Darner Field, the Great West Activities Conference finale for both Ulysses and Scott City had league title implications on the line. The Beavers had clinched at least a share of the title the previous week, while the Tigers were looking for a piece of the title. While both teams had solid offenses and defenses heading in, the game turned into a defensive battle. Scott City held off the comeback efforts of Ulysses, and won their fourth GWAC title, dethroning the Tigers 14-7.

Despite their opening drive of the game ending on an interception, Scott City (6-0, 5-0 GWAC) bounced back after forcing their second three-and-out of the first quarter. A nine-play, 51-yard drive resulted in a one-yard touchdown run on a quarterback keeper by Trey O’Neil with 2:34 left in the opening quarter, and the Tre Stewart extra point gave the Beavers the early 7-0 lead.

That would be the lone score of the first half. Both Scott City and Ulysses combined for six punts, one turnover and one turnover on downs.

The Beavers scored early in the third quarter, which proved to be the difference of the game. With 8:47 remaining in the period, Cooper Griffith found the end zone from three yards out, and the lead was pushed to 14-0 with the Stewart PAT. 

Ulysses (4-2, 3-2) had the field position disadvantage in the first half. In the middle of the third and fourth quarters, they were able to flip the field position, and cashed in. After taking over at the Scott City 38, on fourth down from the 25 yard line, Braden Scott found an open Bryce Rodriguez for the Tigers’ lone score of the game with 8:33 left. Diego helped cut the Beaver lead in half with the PAT to make it 14-7.

On Scott City’s ensuing drive, Marshal Hutchins had his punt blocked at his own 40. With the momentum pegged strongly on Ulyssses’ side, Hutchins stepped in and recorded his first interception of the year on second and 15 from the Beaver 45 yard line that ended the Tiger momentum.

Both teams would trade possession of the ball. Ulysses had one final chance late in the game. Following four kneel-downs by Scott City inside the Tiger 20, Ulysses was only able to advance the ball to the 38 yard line, keeping the Beavers undefeated going into district play.

For Ulysses, Braden Scott was 3-of-15 for 46 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Bryce Rodriguez had two receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown catch, while Ian Rudzik rushed for 168 yards. Ulysses had 237 yards of total offense, 191 on the ground.

Trey O’Neil was four-of-12 passing for 60 yards, with an interception. Brett Meyer caught three of those passes for 47 yards. Cooper Griffith rushed for 180 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown. For the game, Scott City ended up with 317 yards of offense, 257 coming on the ground.

Scott City has won five of the last six meetings against the Tigers, and have now won a league championship in seven out of the last nine years, inlcuding the final two MSAA titles in 2008 and 2009. Glenn O’Neil won his 80th game as the Beavers head coach, and is the second coach in school history to accomplish that feat. He can tie Dave Dunham with a win Friday night for the most wins in school history with 81. 

Up next for Ulysses is a home battle with Mulvane to begin district play Friday night. Ulysses is in Class 4A, Division I, the first year that Class 4A has been split into two divisions for football. Scott City will travel to Southwestern Heights on Friday for their district opener.

Scott City Coach Glenn O’Neil Postgame