Fast start powers Beavers past Sacred Heart, 55-7
By LARRY MORITZ
Special to The Telegram
SALINA — Facing a drive home of nearly three-and-a-half hours after Saturday night's playoff game, it's hard to blame the Scott City Beavers for wanting to get on the road as quickly as possible.
Scott City scored on seven of its first eight possessions to lead 48-0 at halftime against Sacred Heart, forcing the use of a continuous running clock in the second half of the Beavers' 55-7 victory in a Class 3A regional at Salina Stadium.
It was a dominating performance for Scott City, which improved to 11-0 this season and advances to next week's 3A quarterfinals to face unbeaten Garden Plain. After winning its first postseason game in four years on Tuesday night, Sacred Heart ended its season with a 9-2 record following Saturday's loss.
"That was a buzz saw," Sacred Heart coach Bruce Graber said. "They played well, and we didn't play as well as we would like. We just didn't match up very well with them.
"It was not the night we wanted. It was a bad way to end things, but the ride to get here was a heck of a lot of fun."
Scott City had 377 yards of offense in the first half on 23 plays. Ten of those 23 plays went for first downs and eight for touchdowns.
The Beavers did not have a scoring drive in the first two quarters that lasted longer than five plays.
"We had a great week of practice," Scott City coach Glenn O'Neil said. "We talked about the mentality of playing physical and hitting some holes.
"When Sacred Heart came up to defend the run, we were able to hit some passes over the top."
The Beavers had only six pass attempts in the first half, but completed five for 182 yards and three touchdowns.
"We thought we could play some power football in the first half," Scott City senior running back Dalton Buehler said. "We wanted to break them down and then hit some home runs."
"Going in you say you've got to stop the run," Graber said. "But did they miss a pass all night? They threw it well, and a couple of times our guys were not in that bad of a position."
Scott City took the game's opening kickoff and went 67 yards on five plays, with Tyler Hess scoring on an 8-yard carry to give his team a lead less than two minutes into the contest.
Buehler's 43-yard scoring run on a fourth-and-1 carry was the first of his three touchdowns and put the Beavers up 14-0. After the first of three Scott City interceptions, that lead grew to 21-0 on Drew Kite's 11-yard touchdown reception with 4:39 remaining in the first quarter.
Sacred Heart's first two possessions resulted in minus-17 yards of offense. The Knights eventually were able to pick up some yards and had eight first downs in the opening half but never got into the red zone.
"They've got great skill kids, and their quarterback is a very nice quarterback," coach O'Neil said. "We tried to protect against the home run ball and make the tackles on short routes. It was kind of a bend-but-not-break defense."
Buehler had an 80-yard touchdown reception from senior quarterback Brett O'Neil and a 39-yard scoring run — again on a fourth-down play — during the Beavers' 27-point second quarter.
Scott City had a 12-play scoring drive in the third quarter, while Sacred Heart got its only points on a 72-yard pass from Nick Wuthnow to Tate Richards with 9:51 remaining in the game.
Buehler finished with 108 yards rushing on six carries and 87 yards receiving, all in the first half. Brett O'Neil had 139 yards passing, completing 4-of-5 attempts.
Scott City improves to 11-0 and will host Garden Plain at 7 p.m. on Friday in a sectional championship game.
Scott City 21 27 7 0 -- 55
Sacred Heart 0 0 0 7 -- 7
SC--Hess 8 run (B.O'Neil kick), 10:14.
SC--Buehler 43 run (B.O'Neil kick), 6:22.
SC--Kite 11 pass from B.O'Neil (B.O'Neil kick), 4:39.
SC--Buehler 80 pass from B.O'Neil (pass failed), 10:38.
SC--Price 14 run (B.O'Neil kick), 6:08.
SC--Buehler 39 run (B.O'Neil kick), 3:37.
SC--Kite 43 pass from Meyer (B.O'Neil kick), 1:22
SC--Banda 5 run (B.O'Neil kick), 0:00.
SH--Richards 72 pass from Wuthnow (Bonilla kick), 9:51.
First downs 17 11
Rushes-yards 40-305 30-57
Passing yards 182 168
Comp-Att-Int 5-6-0 9-22-3
Total plays-yards 46-487 52-225
Fumbles-lost 3-2 2-0
Penalties-yards 3-25 0-0
Punts-avg. 0-0.0 3-37.0
RUSHING--SC: Buehler 6-108, Price 5-69, Banda 10-47, Wells 3-12, B.O'Neil 2-5, Hess 2-19, Kough 3-23, Gough 3-17, Hutchins 3-6, Jurgens 1-0, McEachern 1-0, Team 1-(-1). SH: D.Diederich 10-40, Butts 7-17, Wuthnow 8-(-20), Krajicek 1-13, Webb 1-2, LeValley 1-1, Salas 2-4.
PASSING--SC: B.O'Neil 4-5-0-139, Meyer 1-1-0-43. SH: Wuthnow 9-22-3-168.
RECEIVING--SC: Buehler 2-87, Kite 2-54, T.O'Neil 1-41. SH: Richards 4-93, Chavez 3-50, A.Diederich 1-22, D.Diederich 1-3.
PUNTING--SC: None. SH: Chavez 3-37.0.