By BRETT MARSHALL
SCOTT CITY — The Scott City Beavers rolled out the red carpet to welcome the Garden City Buffaloes to O.L. Darner Field for what is likely to be the last meeting between the schools for quite some time.
But just as the red carpet was rolled out by the host school and community, the SCHS football team simply rolled up the Buffaloes and sent them back home with a resounding 30-3 rout in the season opener for both teams.
"We just got beat by a better team, quite honestly," said GCHS coach Brian Hill. "Not much to say. Their good players were better than our good players; every one of them across the board."
Hill and his counterpart Glenn O'Neil had said turnovers, field position and mental mistakes would prove to be the difference.
And they were. And the difference was significant.
Garden City turned the ball over five times — three interceptions and two lost fumbles — while Scott City was guilty of three of their own — two fumbles and one interception.
Scott City quarterback Brett O'Neil, making his first start behind center, said his performance was just above average, and his coach/father, Glenn, said the team performed at a B-plus effort.
"The effort by both teams was A-plus," said the Beavers' coach. "There were mistakes both ways, but we were able to come up with enough big plays for it not to cost us."
O'Neil had high praise for his defense, which had struggled during preseason and was missing a couple of starters due to injuries.
"They've taken a chewing out the last couple of weeks. But I felt if we put all of our main guys out there, we might have a chance to be pretty good," O'Neil said. "And we got the kind of effort and performance I was hoping for. In all honesty, I'm surprised. I thought we'd be lucky to escape with a one-point win, if that."
After assuming a 12-3 halftime lead, the Beavers came out with a strong offensive attack.
Two plays into the third quarter, Dalton Smith followed up a 58-yard scamper by Dalton Buehler with a 14-yard touchdown run.
A quick three-and-out by the Buffs, and the Beavers were back in business. Buehler's 46-yard punt return set up O'Neil's 32-yard field goal with 7:16 left, making it 23-3.
From there, it was just a matter of watching the clock move as the Buffs' offense struggled the rest of the night. Senior quarterback Jake Curran, making his first varsity start at the position, was hurried all night by the Scott City defense.
"They had the passing lanes covered and I missed a number of throws," Curran said. "It was a tough start. We've got to come back and do our best to get ready for next week. This is just one game, we need to forget about it, learn from it, and get better."
Curran said he was surprised at how the game unfolded.
"I really felt we were ready to play," Curran said. "This is tough to swallow. We just didn't handle things very well. We need to watch film and move forward."
For Scott City, this was the start of what O'Neil hopes will be another strong season.
"We can get better, but it's a great start," the sixth-year Beaver coach said. "It makes all the hard work that the kids have put in worth it. It's a real compliment to them."
The first half was marked by a few big plays by Scott City and mistakes by both teams.
It was the passing game, however, that lifted the Beavers into the early lead.
Quarterback Brett O'Neil found fullback Colborn Couchman on a swing pass out of the backfield, and Couchman took it to the house from 43 yards, breaking one tackle at the 20 and racing in untouched.
That early 6-0 lead in the first quarter at the 7:52 mark took only two plays, covering 43 yards.
Scott City upped their lead to 12-0 midway through the second, using Robinson's 47-yard punt return to set the SCHS offense up at the five-yard line. Two plays later, Dalton Smith plunged over from three-yards out with 8:36 left before intermission.
Garden City's lone first half score came in the final minute when Carlos Chavez, who missed the would-be winning field goal at the end of the 2010 game in Garden City, ripped a 25-yard field goal through the uprights at the one-minute mark, cutting the deficit to 12-3.
Next week, Scott City will play Holcomb at home while Garden hosts Woodward, Okla.
Garden City 0 3 0 0 -- 3
Scott City 6 6 11 7 -- 30
SC — Colborn Couchman 43 pass from Brett O'Neil (run failed), 7:52, 2 plays, 43 yards.
SC — Dalton Smith 3 run (Pass failed), 8:36, 2 plays, 8 yards.
GC — Carlos Chavez 25 field goal, 1:00, 4 plays, 13 yards.
SC — Smith 14 run (Drew Kite pass from Brett O'Neil), 7:16, 2 plays, 72 yards.
SC — O'Neil 32 field goal, 1:48, 6 plays, 25 yards.
SC — Kite 45 interception return (O'Neil kick), 6:02, 0 plays.
Garden City Scott City
First downs 9 6
Rushes-Yards 28-107 31-122
Passing Yards 55 123
Passes (Com-Att-Int) 9-25-3 6-13-1
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 4-2
Punts-Avg. 8-36.0 6-33.5
Penalties-Yards 3-25 6-60
RUSHING — Garden City: Curran 9-8, Lamb 13-71, Rubio 3-15, Duvall 2-11, T. Tempel 1-2; Scott City: Buehler 9-88, O'Neil 3-(-4), Smith 6-20, Couchman 8-36, Hess 1-(-6), Kough 2-(-7), Banda 1-1.
PASSING — Garden City: Curran 9-25-3-55; Scott City: O'Neil 6-13-1-123.
RECEIVING — Garden City: Kemp 4-22, Foley 1-7, Duvall 1-15, Rubio 1-(-2), Holguin 1-10, Lamb 1-3; Scott City: Robinson 1-23, Hess 2-10, Hayes 1-9, Couchman 1-43, Kite 1-38.