Beavers lasso Cowboys in 3A playoff opener
By BRETT MARSHALL
SCOTT CITY — There is a Dalton Gang hideout in Meade that is a tourist attraction for visitors to southwest Kansas.
There is another Dalton gang in the area, but this one doesn't hide out.
Instead, the two members — junior Dalton Smith and sophomore Dalton Buehler — are front and center running backs in the backfield for the Scott City Beavers.
On Tuesday night, those two sparked the unbeaten Beavers to a 35-3 Class 3A Bi-district championship over the Goodland Cowboys at O.L. Darner Field.
The victory sets up a regional title match-up at 4 p.m. on Saturday at former Class 2A powerhouse Smith Center, a 28-6 winner over Sterling on Tuesday night.
In a first for the Beavers on Tuesday, they trailed for the first time in 10 games when Goodland took the opening kickoff and drove to the Scott City 21 where the drive stalled and the Cowboys settled for a 37-yard Austin Avelar field goal.
That field goal would be the lone points yielded by the Beavers defense.
"We kind of expected Goodland to be ready. They're a good football team," Scott City coach Glenn O'Neil said. "They pulled out all the wrinkles. There's nothing wrong with being behind. This group of kids know what they need to do and it is a playoff game so you know you're going to see good teams."
The teams had met earlier in the year at Goodland with the Beavers rolling up a 36-14 victory.
"They've played a tough schedule, perhaps as tough as anybody in 4A," O'Neil said of the Cowboys, who finish the season at 6-4. "They have an explosive offense and I think for us to limit them to a field goal, the defense stepped up and did a good job for us."
Scott City's offense sputtered in the opening two drives of the game, being forced into three-and-outs and punting.
On their third possession, however, the Beavers established what has worked for them all season — a potent inside-outside running game.
In only six plays, the Beavers marched 62 yards, all on the ground with Smith breaking through and then cutting to the outside for a 39-yard touchdown run and Brett O'Neil's point-after kick made it 7-3 with 2:01 left in the period.
After forcing the Cowboys into their own three-and-out, the Beavers were back in business as just two plays and 59 yards gave them a touchdown.
Fullback Colborn Couchman may have gotten the final three yards for the score with 11:46 left before intermission, but it was Smith's 38-yard play that set up score. Add on O'Neil's PAT and the Beavers headed into the half with a 14-3 lead.
"We pounded the ball inside and then we'd get it to either me or Dalton (Buehler) on the outside," said Smith. "The sweeps were working really well for us tonight."
The second half provided Buehler with his scoring opportunities, getting the first one on a 20-yard scamper midway through the third,
Later in the fourth quarter, Buehler tacked on the final TD of the game with 3:02 left to play when he took a swing pass from Ron Baker and raced the final 20 yards for the score.
In between, senior Jason Williams bulled his way in from three yards out late in the third to provide a comfortable 28-3 lead after O'Neil's successful PAT kick.
"We just try to use our speed, like in track," Buehler said. "We've got it (speed) on both sides. They think I'm running and then we get the ball to Dalton (Smith)."
Smith, who finished the night with 121 yards on just nine carries, had 101 of those in the first half. Buehler carried only six times for 60 yards.
Buehler caught Baker's other completion, a 44-yarder that set up his second catch for the final TD.
"That's the third (receiving TD) this year and that play works well with the way our line gets out and blocks as well as the wide receivers," Buehler said.
Goodland did manage 243 yards of offense against the Beavers defense but 114 of those came on just three plays, including a 53-yard run by Kelly Pearson.
For Saturday's regional showdown, the Beavers will be facing one of Kansas' legendary football powers in Smith Center. The Redmen, who have moved up to 3A this season after winning five consecutive state titles in Class 2A (2004-2008) before losing to Centralia in overtime (20-12) in the 2009 championship game and seeing a nation-best 79-game winning streak come to an end.
Scott City, meanwhile, has its own tradition and reputation to put on the line Saturday. The Beavers have three state titles of their own (1988-1990-1991) in Class 4A. They have reached the state quarterfinals in 3A each of the last four years and would like nothing more than to spoil the Redmen's move up one class.
By the numbers
Goodland 3 0 0 0 -- 3
Scott City 7 7 14 7 -- 35
G — Austin Avelar 37 field goal, 9:41
SC — Dalton Smith 39 run (Brett O'Neil kick), 2:01
SC — Colborn Couchman 3 run (O'Neil kick), 11:46
SC — Dalton Buehler 20 run (O'Neil kick), 7:26
SC — Jason Williams 3 run (O'Neil kick), 2:40
SC — Buehler 20 pass from Ron Baker (O'Neil kick), 3:02
1st Downs 7 16
Rushes-yards 35-132 40-321
Passing yards 111 64
Passes 8-22-0 2-11-0
Fumbles-lost 3-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 3-30 4-25
Punts-avg. 8-30.9 6-38.8
Rushing — Goodland, Kelly Pearson 13-79, Reed Bellamy 10-36, Nathan Deeds 1-2, Riley Oharah 9-15, Christopher Bustillos 1-0. Scott City, Ron Baker 7-2, Dalton Buehler 6-60, Dalton Smith 9-121, Jason Williams 9-44, Colborn Couchman 14-85, Tyler Hess 1-9.
Passing — Goodland, Kelly Pearson 2-4-0--61, Reed Bellamy 6-18-0--50. Scott City, Brett O'Neil 0-1-0--0, Ron Baker 2-10-0--64.
Receiving — Goodland, Dillon Trachsel 1-7, Brock Wilkens 2-45, Garth Helton 2-18, Kelly Pearson 1-10, Robert Cowan 2-31. Scott City, Dalton Buehler 2-64.
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