By KEVIN THOMPSON
SCOTT CITY — Don't blame the Holcomb Longhorns if they had visions of upset in their souls as they traveled to Scott City to face their rivals on Friday night.
But the spirit of tradition that follows Beaver football came through again for the home team as they won their 30th consecutive regular season game, 21-7, in a Great West Activities Conference game.
But the No. 2 team in Class 3A found the going harder than expected in the first half against a Holcomb team that started its season with a win over Meade, then the top-ranked team in 2A.
The Beavers struck first when Brett O'Neil hit Drew Kite for an 8-yard pass.
But the Longhorns were equal to the task, going 63 yards in eight plays. Tyler LaSalle hit Jeremy Cox with just 16 seconds remaining in the quarter from 7 yards out over two defenders in the back of the end zone, and Holcomb led 7-6.
Both teams ate up clock in the second period. Heath Tucker broke up a pass in the end zone to thwart a Beaver drive, and LaSalle led Holcomb on. 73-yard march to the 3-yard line, including a pass over the middle to Cox for a 23-yard gain.
But a holding call against them at first down from the three killed the Longhorn's chances and Scott City took advantage.
With 3:21 left in the half, the Beavers ran nine plays to the Longhorn 22, but a personal foul against Holcomb gave them 11 more yards.
On the ensuing play, O'Neil found Tyler Hess in the corner of the end zone and the Beavers were up 14-7 at the half.
The only scoring after that came with just 5:04 left in the game. After taking the ball over on downs, Scott City drove 77 yards, with Buehler scoring from six yards out.
But it was the first series that changed the tone. O'Neil was back to punt just four plays in, but he saw an opening to his right and ran the ball 15 yards for a first down.
The rest of the drive took 14 plays and consumed a lot of time.
Holcomb's next drive had three penalties, and LaSalle was intercepted by Trey O'Neil with 3:01 left and the Longhorns were finished for the night.
Scott City coach Glenn O'Neil was not surprised with the fight he saw in Holcomb.
"I thought Holcomb would be exactly what we got tonight," coach O'Neil said. "Their schemes are super and they've got athletic kids."
After two blowout wins to start the season, this game was a great challenge for his team, O'Neil said.
"It was a good test for us. I don't know what kind of grade we got, but we passed," coach O'Neil said.
Part of the study time for next week's league test against Ulysses will be cutting down on third-down penalties, or "shooting ourselves in the foot," coach O'Neil explained.
Holcomb coach Jerry Johnson found many positives in the defeat.
"I'm extremely proud of how they played. It came down to four or five different plays. We battled all night long," he said.
"We prepared all week long. They put themselves in the position (to win)," Johnson added.
It was Scott City's experience of going deep into the playoffs that finally did in his team.
Johnson told his team that if they could stop Scott City (3-0) to start the second half, they would still be in it. They did, but they just couldn't capitalize, he said.
Getting down to the 3-yard line twice and taking holding calls really hurt, he said, especially against a team the caliber of the Beavers.
The Beavers out-gained Holcomb (2-1) in yardage in the first half 281-156, including 129 rushing yards on 14 carries by Dalton Buehler and O'Neal's 128 passing yards.
Scott City out-gained Holcomb in the second half by over 100 yards. For the game, they amassed 428 total yards, while Holcomb hit for 200.
Buehler had 28 carries for 173 yards. One run went for 37 yards, but most of his carries were for short, tough bursts up the middle. Credit the Longhorn defense for making him work, Buehler said.
"They're a lot more talented and they played hard," he said. "I have to give them credit for that. We were expecting a tough match, but boy, they gave us a way tougher match than we thought they would."
Holcomb was overloaded on the outside, Buehler added, so he was forced to head inside for his yards.
"It was good old-fashioned Beaver football," he said. "Just pound it up the middle."
Scott City hosts Ulysses for homecoming Friday, while Holcomb will host Goodland.Both are GWAC contests.
Scott City 6 8 0 7 -- 21
Holcomb 7 0 0 0 -- 7
Scoring by quarters
SC--B.ONeil 8 pass to Kite (kick failed) 4:27
H--LaSalle 7 pass to Cox (Tucker kick) :16
SC--B.ONeil 11 pass to Hess (B.ONeil run) :57
SC--Buehler 6 run (B.O'Neil kick) 5:04
RUSHING - Holcomb: LaSalle 11-41, Hernandez 8-24; Scott City: Buehler 28-173, Wells 12-61, 6-38.
PASSING - Holcomb: LaSalle 6-14-130; Scott City: O'Neil 10-17-154.
RECEIVING - Holcomb: Tucker 2-47, Gilbert 1-23, Roth 2-24; Scott City: Hess 3-52, Kite 3-33.