By BRETT MARSHALL
SCOTT CITY — In a rematch of two football powerhouses, it was Scott City High School's turn to savor the outcome on Saturday at O.L. Darner Field.
The Beavers, seeking to redeem themselves from a 42-35 second-round exit at Smith Center in 2010, got their taste of triumph this time around, defeating the Redmen, 39-20, in a Class 3A second-round battle.
The victory moves the unbeaten Beavers (11-0) into next Saturday's quarterfinals against Conway Springs, a 55-13 winner over previously unbeaten Sedgwick.
Scott City coach Glenn O'Neil said earlier in the week that he remembered how well Smith Center controlled the ball, ran all over the Beavers' defense, and thoroughly dominated his team.
This time, It was the Beavers who were in control, piling up 412 rushing yards using their 1-2-3 running attack powered by Colborn Couchman (180 yards, three touchdowns), Dalton Buehler (164 yards, two touchdowns), and Dalton Smith (63 yards in just eight carries).
"This feels great with all that tension built up from last year's game," Buehler said. "We pushed so hard in the offseason for this opportunity. It was just a lot of determination, and our line was unbelievable tonight.
"You've got to give them all the credit for the holes we had to run through."
The Beavers were unstoppable throughout the game, scoring on six of their seven possessions. The only time they didn't put points up was the opening drive of the game when Smith fumbled on the Beavers' 42-yard line.
Just as they had a year ago, the Redmen struck quickly, taking 2:25 and seven plays to score when quarterback Alex Hobelman converted on a 24-yard keeper around the right end, untouched after making a fake to Truitt Kuhlman.
"We knew we could come back," said offensive guard Michael McEachern. "We just got down to business after that. They're very good, but this game was about us improving and getting stronger. We just got tougher and we played more physical. Last year, we just sat back and took it. This time, we made things happen."
That was the highlight of the night for the Redmen, however.
For O'Neil, the win allows the Beavers to move into the quarterfinals for the third time in the last three seasons.
"This feels good, but it doesn't matter who you play, you're happy when you win and can move on," O'Neil said. "This game, as was last year's, was about ball control. We put them in difficult circumstances with downs and yardage situations, and then we had clutch plays on third downs that kept the chains moving."
The game was a mirror image of what the Redmen had done to the Beavers in the 2010 second-round shootout when they rushed for 467 yards on 72 plays and had the ball for nearly 34 minutes.
Aside from the early touchdown, and then Kuhlman's 83-yard kickoff return midway through the second quarter that trimmed the lead to 13-12, the Redmen never established any offensive rhythm. Kuhlman, who had rushed for 212 yards in Smith Center's win last year, was limited to 70 yards on 19 attempts. The Redmen totaled just 100 rushing yards and 133 total yards.
Buehler scored on runs of two and 11 yards in the first and fourth quarters, Couchman had scoring runs of two, one and 25 yards, and quarterback Brett O'Neil hooked up with Braeden Robinson for a 25-yard touchdown near the end of the second quarter that gave the Beavers a 20-12 halftime lead.
Kuhlman's long kickoff return and Hobelman's 71-yard return near the end of the game were the big plays of the night for the Redmen and their vaunted wishbone.
"This game says a lot about the our line and the determination of our backs," O'Neil said. "We'll let the kids enjoy this for about 36 hours and then it will be time to get ready for the next one. It was a special game and the kids played super."
The memory of last year's defeat was so ingrained for O'Neil, he put last year's game stats up on the bulletin board in the team's locker room early last week.
"Every day they walked by and saw that 467 yards and 72 rushing plays," O'Neil said. "It was a reminder that it's better to have the ball. Last year, it was read and react. This year we decided to come downhill and attack. It worked out well."
Smith Center (8-2), which had won five straight Class 2-1A state championships from 2004-2008, will return to that lower classification for the next two seasons. It reached the quarterfinals a year ago before falling to Conway Springs.
Smith Center 6 6 0 8 -- 20
Scott City 6 14 6 13 -- 39
SmC--Alex Hobelman 24 run (kick blocked), 7:47.
ScC--Dalton Buehler 2 run (pass failed), 3:16.
ScC--Colborn Couchman 2 run (Brett O'Neil kick), 6:35.
SmC--Truitt Kuhlman 83 kickoff return (run failed), 6:22.
ScC--Braeden Robinson 25 pass from Brett O'Neil (O'Neil kick), 3:32.
ScC--Couchman 1 run (pass failed), 7:55.
ScC--Couchman 25 run (O'Neil kick), 11:43.
ScC--Buehler 11 run (kick failed), 3:55.
SmC--Kuhlman 4 run (Louis Frazier pass from Hobelman), 1:02.
First downs 7 28
Rushes-yards 30-100 66-412
Passing yards 33 32
Passes 2-5-1 2-4-0
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 5-40 5-45
Punts-avg. 2-50.5 0-0
Possession 18:02 29:58
RUSHING--Smith Center: Atwood 6-3, Kuhlman 19-70, Hobelman 4-23, Sellars 1-4; Scott City: Buehler 19-164, B. O'Neil 2-1, Smith 8-63, Couchman 26-180, Kite 1-4.
PASSING--Smith Center: Hobelman 2-5-1--33; Scott City: B. O'Neil 2-4-0--32.
RECEIVING--Smith Center: Frazier 2-33; Scott City: Robinson 1-25, Couchman 1-7.