By MIKE KESSINGER
SCOTT CITY — For two-and-a-half quarters the Holcomb Longhorns gave Scott City all they wanted in their Class 3A football playoff opener.
The Longhorns were the heavy underdog in a title boxing bout — they took some blows, then delivered a few. By the end of the bi-district match-up, though, the Beavers had wore down Holcomb, moving on with a 54-6 victory.
"We have been talking all week long — not about winning this game, but making (Scott City) earn it," Holcomb coach Jerry Johnson said. "Not coming in and letting them just walk all over us. For two and a half quarters we made them play. They had to earn every inch that they got. They had to earn every touchdown that they scored. It wasn't easy. That's what we talked about. Our kids played with such pride tonight, and that's what we built our program around."
The Longhorn defense held their own for much of the first half. Even when Scott City (10-0) marched 53 yards on its first possession with five different players running the ball and eventually scoring on a Dalton Smith five-yard run, the Holcomb defense stiffened. Smith, who finished with four rushing TDs, and his Beaver teammates, though, simply became too much to overcome.
"I'm kind of disappointed in our discipline with our penalties," Scott City coach Glenn O'Neil said after his team was flagged eight times for 80 yards. "Different officiating crew from a different part of the state who calls things a little different. Evidently we're making some mistakes out there and we need to clean them up."
The Beavers started freshman Brett O'Neil at quarterback as junior Ron Baker nursed an injured lower back. Scott City led just 7-0 at the end of the first quarter and Baker was inserted into the Beavers' first possession of the second quarter. Baker's first pass went off the hands of a wide open Dakota Hayes, who turned his head before pulling the ball in and Holcomb's Matt Pfeifer intercepted it. It was the Beavers' lone turnover. Other than a pair of catches totaling 14 and 22 yards by Trey DeLaRosa, Holcomb couldn't respond offensively.
A two-yard touchdown run by Smith and a 19-yard scoring catch by Alex Swan from Baker put the Beavers up 21-0 at the break. Swan's touchdown came on the first play after he returned a punt 43 yards, putting the ball on the Longhorns' 19.
"He can do some things," O'Neil said of Swan, who played a little quarterback Tuesday, while also providing a punch at receiver, running back and defensive back. "We're able to spread the field a little bit and see what the defense does and let him run."
The Beavers went up 27-0 just one minute, 50 seconds into the second half on a Swan 18-yard TD catch. The Longhorns responded with their lone touchdown on a one-yard dive by Levi Koehn. Holcomb (4-6) started its scoring drive at its own 25 and was helped by a Koehn 54-yard run and unsportsmanlike conduct and offside penalties on the Beavers.
Scott City took complete control from there scoring on four straight possessions, which included Hayes intercepting a Clay Gilbert pass and running it in from five yards out.
"It's been one of those learning curves where you've had a lot of kids pushed into the fire," Johnson said of the inexperienced Longhorn team that dealt with several injuries over the course of the season. "Tonight, the entire season was worthwhile because of how the kids played. I don't care we got beat 54-6, we made them play with us. We made them keep their starters in until the fourth quarter. It was simple battles like that we were going for."
Holcomb loses just eight seniors off the team that had just two returning starters from a year ago.
Scott City know moves into the second round and will host Hoisington on Saturday. The game starts at 4 p.m.
Holcomb 0 0 6 0 — 6
Scott City 7 14 20 13 — 54
SC — Smith 5 run (Habiger kick), 6:40
SC — Smith 3 run (Habiger kick), 2:38
SC — Baker 19 pass to Swan (Habiger kick), 1:46
SC — Baker 18 pass to Swan (kick failed), 10:10
H — Koehn 1 run (kick failed), 7:48
SC — Smith 4 run (Habiger kick), 2:47
SC — Hayes 5 Interception return (Habiger kick), 1:45
SC — Smith 57 run (Habiger kick), 11:29
SC — Noll 10 run (kick failed), 3:43.
Team statistic H SC
First Downs 6 21
Rushing 33-92 49-348
Passing 3-9-2 5-10-1
Passing yards 40 106
Total offense 42-132 59-454
Punts 5-38.8 0-0
Penalties 6-55 8-80
Fumbles (t-l) 3-1 2-0
Rushing — Holcomb, Koehn 13-91, DeLaRosa 8-9, Pfeifer 1-4, LaSalle 2-4, Walck 1-(-3), Gilbert 8-(-9); S.C., Williams 15-119, Smith 7-80, Swan 7-72, Kough 3-30, Couchman 4-26, Noll 1-10, Robinson 1-8, Anliker 2-4, Wells 1-4, Roemer 2-3, Hess 1-0, Baker 2-(-5), O'Neil 2-(-6).
Passing — Holcomb, Gilbert 3-9-2-40; S.C., Baker 4-8-1-85, O'Neil 1-1-0-21, Swan 0-1-0-0.
Receiving — Holcomb, DeLaRosa 2-36, Pfeifer 1-4; S.C., Swan 3-58, Williams 1-29, Hayes 1-19.