Quarters have not been kind to Beavers
By BRETT MARSHALL
Glenn O'Neil is not one to dwell on the past when it comes to athletic contests.
Win or lose, he figures it's just time to move on.
That's what he's tried to do in his previous five seasons as head football coach of the Scott City Beavers as their seasons have come to a crashing halt in the playoffs. That's what he's also tried to do as the head boys basketball coach at the school, even after winning three state championships, including the last two Class 3A crowns.
So, when his Beavers suffered perhaps the most heartwrenching losses imaginable in 2008 (20-17 to Garden Plain) and 2009 (19-17 to Wichita Collegiate), both in this same quarterfinal round of the 3A playoffs, O'Neil did what he usually does: put the tape of the game away and moved on.
Once again, both teams come in fully loaded. Both are unbeaten at 11-0. Both have juggernaut offenses. Both have stingy and opportunistic defenses.
O'Neil is all too aware of the Beavers' history in the quarterfinals over the past five years.
In O'Neil's first year (2007) at the helm of the Beavers, they lost 6-0 to Conway Springs, which then lost to eventual state champion Owls.
In 2008, it was a gutwrenching home loss to the Owls after the Beavers led 17-6 with just less than two minutes left, only to have a blocked punt and a fumble result in 14 points and doom them to that 3-point loss.
In 2009, it was a last-minute drive by Wichita Collegiate that cost the Beavers in a 19-17 Collegiate win.
In 2010, the Beavers ran into a wishbone buzzsaw at Smith Center, falling 42-35 to the Redmen in a second-round ouster.
Last year, again in the quarters, it was Conway Springs that blocked the Beavers' path, winning 39-21.
It would be difficult to assess why the Beavers have been unable to clear the path to the semis and perhaps to a title game in football. After all, with O'Neil sitting on the bench coaching, the Beavers have won three basketball state titles in the past seven years.
"We haven't beaten a Central Prairie League team (Garden Plain, Conway Springs) since I've been here," O'Neil said earlier this week. "Until we beat one of them, they've got to be the favorite."
What O'Neil has done, though, is gone to his archive closet, pulled out the 2008 game against Garden Plain, and showed it to his coaches and players within the last few days. At least the first half.
"They run so much of the same stuff," O'Neil said, "that I wanted the players to get a feel for their size, their speed and how fast the game moves. If I've taken anything away from the games in recent years, it's that you need to come out and be the aggressor and stay that way."