Halstead, Kan. (westernkansasnews.com)–For the first time all year, Scott City trailed in a game. It was truly gut check time for the Beavers. Just like previous Beaver teams, Scott City played with poise. Their patience paid off, as Trey O’Neil scored the game-tying touchdown with 1:07 remaining, and followed that up with an interception in overtime and a 10-yard pass to Chantz Yager to give Scott City a 20-14 win, sending them to the Class 3A State Championship for the second time in three years.
Scott City scored on their opening drive. With 4:43 remaining in the first quarter, Cooper Griffith scored from three yards out on fourth-and-two to make it 6-0. Following a roughing the kicker penalty, Trey O’Neil ran in the two-point conversion to give the Beavers an 8-0 edge. The drive took 4:32 off the clock on a nine-play, 66-yard drive. Halstead drove the ball down the field on the ensuing drive, before quarterback Eli McKee fumbled inside the Beaver 10 yard line late in the first quarter.
The Dragons would take advantage of short field for their first score of the game. With 6:14 left before halftime, Joseph Myers rumbled his way for a 35-yard touchdown to pull to within 8-6, after the two-point conversion failed. Scott City drove down the field on the following drive. On a fourth and goal play from the three, Sloan Baker would make the catch, but the officials would rule that the ball did not cross the goal line when his knee was down, and Halstead would run out the rest of the first half clock to make it 8-6 Beavers at the break.
Halstead (10-3) would give the Beavers their first deficit of the year. The Dragons on their opening drive of over five minutes in the third period would result in a McKee six-yard option keeper around the right side. He would also run in the two-point conversion to make it 14-6 Dragons after three quarters.
Scott City (13-0) had multiple opportunities to tie the game in the fourth quarter. After recovering a fumble at the Dragon 31 yard line, the Beavers were unable to convert on four downs, gaining only eight yards. However, their second chance in the final 12 minutes would come. Halstead drove the ball to the Scott City 37 yard line, when the Beavers would recover another fumble with 6:02 left. That set up the drive that kept the season alive. Scott City used a 10-play, 63-yard drive in 4:54 that tied the game up, as O’Neil reached across the goal line before the ball was knocked out with 1:07 left in the game to tie the score at 14. Pierre Portes’ extra point kick was blocked and the score remained at 14. Halstead would get one first down, before two passes were incomplete, which meant overtime.
Halstead would get the ball for four downs, after two rushes for a negative yard and an incomplete pass, O’Neil would intercept McKee on fourth down from the 11 yard line, that would set up what would be the heroics. On Scott City’s first and only offensive play in overtime, O’Neil was flushed to the right, as he was under pressure, he lobbed it up for Chantz Yager, who was about a yard in and a mere inch inbounds with both feet to make the catch in double coverage, and secured the ball enough for the touchdown, and pandamonium ran across the Beaver sideline, as Scott City rallied for the 20-14 win.
In the win, Trey O’Neil was 15-of-24 for 170 yards, and the touchdown pass to Chantz Yager. Brett Meyer was the leading receiver, as he had two catches for 56 yards, and Cooper Griffith led the ground game with 12 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown. Scott City finished with 288 yards, with 170 coming through the air. The Beavers forced four turnovers, and did not commit one of their own.
Halstead finished with three more yards of total offense with 291, with all but 10 coming on the ground. Blake Beckett carried the ball 19 times for 109 yards. Eli McKee was one-of-five for 10 yards and an interception. His lone pass was completed to Joseph Myers.
With the win, Scott City is now 6-4 all-time in Sub-State games, while Halstead is 0-4. The Beavers have a 46-15 record in playoff history, and is tied for seventh in Kansas history for the most playoff wins. Who are they tied with? Their next opponent, Rossville.
Scott City will face the Rossville Bulldogs at Gowan Stadium in Hutchinson at 1 pm. The Bulldogs (13-0) scored on an 85-yard touchdown run by Thatcher Horak to knock off rival Silver Lake for the second time in four weeks, with a 21-14 win in Silver Lake on Friday night. This is their second-ever trip to a title game, as they lost to Hesston in 1992. Scott City will be making their sixth-ever trip to a championship game, and are 4-1 all-time, and won in 2012 with a 28-21 win over Silver Lake.
Coach Glenn O’Neil postgame