By KEVIN THOMPSON
SCOTT CITY - Losing some star players to graduation? Tough but manageable.
Losing the starting quarterback one week before the season starts? Questionable.
The resiliency of the Scott City Beavers? Never in doubt.
Any questions surrounding Scott City's football team this season were laid to rest Friday night as they opened the 2009 campaign with a 39-0 romp over the Lakin Broncs.
Ron Baker, a junior who took over the signal calling for the Beavers when scheduled starter Dillon Stucky went down with an ACL injury on Monday, stepped up big under the Friday night spotlight.
"I was pretty nervous Monday when Coach told me I was going to play Friday," a tired but exuberant Baker said after the game. "But during the week (he) put the team around me and I felt pretty comfortable with what he did for me and the nerves kind of went away."
The nerves went away early as the Beaver defense opened the game with a four-and-out stop in almost no time.
Then a solid ground game early on helped alleviate any butterflies Baker might have been feeling. Ten running plays that covered 53 yards on their first possession culminated in a Dalton Smith touchdown run from 10 yards out to give the Beavers their second boost of confidence.
"Running the ball makes me feel a lot better," Baker said of the early attack. "Not that I can't throw, but I'd rather run it."
The defense picked right up when Calvin Erven tackled Bronc quarterback Dylan Shalberg at their own 1-yard line.
Starting at Lakin's 29-yard line, Baker hit Jorden Funk for 21 yards. Three plays later, Smith ran it again for the Beavers' second touchdown in two possessions.
Any case of nerves dissipated and transformed into confidence from then on.
"I felt like everybody around me was just trusting me and I felt it," Baker said.
The running game continued in the second quarter as Alex Swan ran four yards for a score on the Beavers' next possession.
Two possessions later, it was Smith again, this time from 39 yards out.
Then Baker showed a little bit of offense himself. With 1:03 left in the half he intercepted the ball and returned it 25 yards. A 15-yard Lakin penalty put the ball at the Broncs' 29. Baker's first play was a 14-yard pass to Smith. The next play was a 16-yarder over the top to Dakota Hayes, and the Beavers held a 32-0 lead at the half.
Sophomore Braeden Robinson and freshman Brett O'Neil took over the quarterbacking duties in the second half for Scott City as the Beavers were content to just run the ball the rest of the game, scoring once more on a two-yard run by Kaleb Roemer.
The Beaver defense held Lakin to four or fewer plays on each of the Broncs' first five possessions.
The sixth possession ended in the Baker interception and the next on a fumble recovery.
Head coach Glenn O'Neil felt good to finally get the season going and come away with the win.
"For the first game we've got to be pretty happy. We're still fighting all those nagging little injuries to some starters. But we had some other guys step up really well," he said.
Scott City also reached a milestone as they picked up their 500th varsity football win. O'Neil downplayed it, though he agreed it is "cool for us. But it's just game number one for us this year."
Scott City looks travels to Pratt next week for a Mid-State Activities battle, while Lakin plays at Hugoton in a Hi-Plains League contest.
Scott City 39, Lakin 0
Lakin 0 10 0 0 -- 0
Scott City 13 19 7 0 -- 39
SC — Dalton Smith 10 run (J. Habiger kick). 6:04
SC — Smith 3 run (kick failed). 2:56
SC — Swan 4 run (J. Habiger kick). 9:38.
SC — Smith 39 run (kick failed). 2:46.
SC — Dakota Hayes 14 pass from Baker (kick failed). :39
SC — Kaleb Roemer 2 run (O'Neil kick). 2:27
------ Lak SC
First downs 4 14
Total Net Yards 10 370
Rushes-yards 22-(-32) 48-273
Passing 42 97
Comp-Att-Int 5-17-2 7-10-1
Punts 6-31 2-36
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 6-55 6-52
RUSHING--Lakin: Holmes 2-12, Jones 4-16. Scott City: Couchman 5-71, Hess 4-58, Smith 5-55, Swan 7-36, Williams 6-25.
PASSING--Lakin: Shalberg 5-17-2-42. Scott City: Baker 7-9-1-97.
RECEIVING--Lakin, Jones 1-33, Holmes 1-4, Perea 1-4. Scott City: Swan 4-48, Funk 1-21. Smith 1-22, Hayes 1-16.