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Sports Source: It was the Beavers' time

Published 11/27/2012

The world of sports brings so much emotion into the mix of human nature.

Perhaps that is what makes any athletic endeavor all the more intriguing.

It goes right to the inner soul, the inner heart, the mind of an individual — and in the case of team sports such as football, basketball, soccer or baseball — how the greater group of that team performs and reacts to the events of the day.

On Saturday, such was the occasion for the Scott City Beavers football team.

This was the day that the Beavers were going to finally break through that proverbial glass ceiling of disappointment and bring home a state championship to a school, and a community that was thirsting for one.

It had been more than two decades since the Beavers last won a state football championship.

In intervening years, the school had produced state championships in boys basketball, cross country, track and field. There had been numerous individual state champions in various sports as well.

But there's nothing like football, especially in Scott City, to thirst for a championship.

On Saturday, though, every physical and mental roadblock, every pothole that could possibly be thrown at the Beavers could have caused a lesser group to buckle.

First, it was senior running back Dalton Buehler's gimpy left ankle, a high ankle sprain suffered late in the team's semifinal victory over Beloit a week earlier, that caused uncertainty for the Beavers. Would he be able to play? How long could he go? Would he be able to dominate a game on offense like no other player on his team? Nobody really knew for sure.

Then, senior quarterback Brett O'Neil, the coach's son, team leader on both sides of the ball and specialty kicker (punting and placekicking) came up with flu-like symptoms early Saturday morning at the team's nearby hotel. He didn't travel to the stadium with his teammates. Nobody knew if Brett would be able to don his uniform and get on the field.

That uncertainty caused much angst among his teammates, the coaching staff, and certainly the fans who had traveled to Hutchinson for the big game.

When you lose a tire on your car, it doesn't move very well. When the battery cable is loose, there is usually a short in the vehicle, and it can't operate properly.

Maybe that's how the Beavers felt late Saturday morning upon their arrival at Gowans Stadium. Would the vehicle run as smoothly as it had all season? Would all the parts function?

At first, the Beavers played like a car that was in need of a tune-up — sputtering as it left the driveway — and falling behind by three touchowns to a team that also had not tasted defeat all season, and was a seasoned program in state championship games.

Then, somehow, perhaps miraculously, this group of Beavers with seniors leading the way, fixed whatever was causing the sputtering, and then played like a well-oiled machine.

They came up with big plays on offense, even bigger plays on defense, and blocked a punt on special teams that contributed to a game-tying touchdown.

Seniors were all over this year's Beaver roster and they, along with the complement of underclassmen, found a way to dig deep, to go into their inner soul, their inner heart and their mind, to produce a comeback that will long be remembered.

The disappointment of seasons past had been erased. They could stand as one — a group that defines the word team. The whole was greater than the sum of its parts.

This group of seniors shined more brightly than any Beavers of recent past.

They were the state football champions — and they had made their dream come true.

Sports Editor Brett Marshall can be emailed at bmarshall@gctelegram.com

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