By BRETT MARSHALL
Few outside the Scott City Beavers football program had high hopes they would make another deep run into the Class 3A playoffs.
But then, the 2013 season has been all about proving the naysayers wrong.
The Beavers advanced to their fifth quarterfinal round contest in the past six seasons on Saturday with a 24-21 win on the road against Phillipsburg.
Last year, the Beavers broke through the quarterfinal barrier en route to their first state championship in more than 20 years.
The victory improved the Beavers' record to 10-1, and they now get a chance to continue their quest to defend their 2012 state title when they hit the road for a 4 p.m. Saturday (tentative kickoff) contest at unbeaten Conway Springs.
It will mark the third time in seven years the teams have clashed in the quarters, and all three have been at Conway Springs, with the Cardinals winning the previous two.
"I'd say most of the teams at this point are favored against us, but we don't care how we got there," Scott City coach Glenn O'Neil said. "There are some who feel like we're playing on someone else's time, but we've expected to win all the games we've played. I like where we're at this time of year."
The game was tied 7-7 after one quarter as Scott City scored first on a 1-yard run by Martin Gough and Tre Stewart's PAT kick. Phillipsburg answered with an 18-yard pass from Riley Juenemann to Hunter Koehler, with Jeron Kellerman tacking on the point-after kick.
Scott City went up 16-7 with two scores in the second period, Stewart getting a 32-yard field goal midway through and then Trey O'Neil hooking up with Chris Pounds for a 21-yard TD strike with just 15 seconds left before halftime. The PAT kick missed.
Big plays pulled the Panthers back into the game as Grant Wickham scored on jaunts of 91 and 62 yards during the middle part of the third quarter. Those sandwiched a 35-yard TD pass from O'Neil to Brayden Strine. O'Neil ran for the 2-point conversion, and Kellerman was perfect on his two PAT kicks, making it 24-21 after three.
Both teams threatened in the fourth as the Beavers held the Panthers on a fourth down from the 5-yard line when Brett Myers sacked Juenemann for a 4-yard loss. The Beavers got inside the Panthers' 10-yard line two possessions later, but fumbled it away.
"We know Conway is a big team with good backs, so we'll have a challenge," O'Neil said. "It's always difficult to play a single-wing attack with limited time to practice. We're pretty beaten up, but we'll do our best to show up and compete."
O'Neil finished the game by hitting 13-of-19 passes for 158 yards and had one interception. Myers' only pass completion went for 25 yards. Wyatt Kropp had 86 yards on 18 carries to lead the 211-yard rushing attack. Five different receivers caught passes, three each going to Pounds (38 yards), Chantz Yager (43 yards), Wyatt Kropp (31 yards) and Strine (47 yards). Warren Kropp had two catches for 24 yards. The Panthers had 214 yards rushing and 30 yards passing.
Phillipsburg ends its season with a 9-2 record.
Scott City 7 9 8 0 -- 24
Phillipsburg 7 0 14 0 -- 21
SC--Martin Gough 1 run (Tre Stewart kick), 4:22.
P--Hunter Koehler 18 pass from Riley Juenemann (Jeron Kellerman kick), 2:11.
SC--Tre Stewart 32 field goal, 7:22.
SC--Chris Pounds 21 pass from Trey O'Neil (kick failed), 0:15.
P--Grant Wickham 91 run (Kellerman kick), 8:18.
SC--Brayden Strine 35 pass from O'Neil (O'Neil run), 6:25.
P--Wickham 62 run (Kellerman kick), 5:16.
Sharon Springs 51, Dighton 6
At Dighton on Friday, the host Hornets saw powerhouse Wallace County of Sharon Springs use two overpowering quarters to take a 51-6 triumph in an 8-Man Division II quarterfinal battle.
The Wildcats led 16-6 after one quarter and were up 22-6 at halftime before a 22-point explosion in the third put the game out of reach for Dighton. Sharon Springs scored once more in the fourth.
Dighton got on the board first with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Lingg to Matt Mulville. The 2-point conversion try failed.
Sharon Springs then scored twice in the first on runs of 8 and 42 yads. The Wildcats added a 45-yard run in the second quarter. In the third, Sharon Springs scored on a run from scrimmage, a TD pass and a 50-yard pass interception return.
Isaac Alinor was the leading rusher for the Hornets with 44 yards on 18 carries. Lingg finished the game by hitting 14-of-18 passes for 151 yards. Alinor was the top receiver with 5 catches for 64 yards.
The Hornets finish the season with a 6-5 record while Sharon Springs remained unbeaten at 11-0 and now faces Beloit-St. John's Tipton on Friday in a sub-state championship match.
Sharon Springs 16 6 22 7 -- 51
Dighton 6 0 0 0 -- 6
D--Mulville 18 pass from Lingg (run failed)
SS--Schemm 8 run (run good)
SS--Gfeller 42 run (run good)
SS--Gfeller 42 run (run good)
SS--Schemm 5 run (pass good)
SS--Gfeller 50 pass interception return (run good)
SS--Dailey 29 pass from Gfeller (run failed)
SS--Klinge 2 run (kick good)