SCOTT CITY — Tradition says that, when Holcomb and Scott City duke it out on the gridiron, drama ensues.
That’s how it played out, mostly in the first half, but it was a late score by the Beavers that gave Scott City a 23-14 conference win.
Penalties halted a lot of momentum (Scott City finished with 15 for 129 yards, Holcomb 10 for 75) as the Beavers halted a two-game losing streak to its nemesis and improve to 2-0 (1-0 in conference), while Holcomb dropped to 1-1 (0-1).
Scott City ended up the winner on yardage, as well, out-gaining the Longhorns 274-159.
But the Longhorns dominated early, taking advantage of a Scott City offense that looked tight early, fumbling on its second play from scrimmage.
Holcomb got on the board first on its second series when Trey Gilbert scored from five yards out in the first quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, Gilbert hit Reece Morss for a 27-yard catch-and-run. Marshall Faurot hit him and the ball popped loose—right into Chance Rodriguez’s hands and the Longhorn senior ran it in 23 yards for Holcomb’s second score and a 14-0 lead.
After that, it was all Beavers’ offense and good field position.
Parker Gooden hit Faurot for a 35-yard scoring strike over Peyton Leonard.
Nick Nowak scored on Scott City’s next series, this from 20 yards out.
The Beavers closed the first-half scoring when Moses Hinojos, a soccer player by trade, nailed a 40-yard field goal at 2:49 after Holcomb was called for a penalty that gave him an extra five yards.
The Beaver defense, once it got on track, held Holcomb to just 104 first-half yards on 25 plays and just two first downs. Scott City gained 185 yards on 30 plays with seven first downs.
The second half featured, of all things, the punt. Still leading 17-14 in the fourth, Faurot nailed a 57-yarder (his longest) to Holcomb’s 2-yard line. Four plays later, Holcomb was forced to punt from its end zone and the ball landed at the 16.
Three plays later, the Beavers picked up a first down at the 2-yard line on Nowak’s four-yard run. On the next play, Wyatt Hayes ran it in. With the missed extra point, Scott City led 23-14.
Holcomb tried to respond. On the ensuing series, Gilbert hit Rodriguez for a 36-yard gain, negated by a block in the back, one of 10 team penalties for the game.
Wyatt Hayes sacked Gilbert with under two minutes to play, a loss of 11 yards that sealed Holcomb’s fate. On the next play, Holcomb elected to punt, conceding the loss.
Jurgens led the Beavers with 91 combined yards. Nowak had 62 yards rushing, followed by Hayes with 48.
Holcomb’s lead rusher was Reece Morss with 64, with 58 of them coming on one play that set up Holcomb’s first score.
“We came out of the first quarter really bad, like we weren’t even playing ball,” the senior Jurgens said. “The second quarter we got ourselves together and we went at them.”
Holcomb hit the Beavers hard in the opening quarter, he added.
“But in the second, we came out saying we’ve got to him them, so we went out and just laid them out,” Jurgens said.
Scott City made adjustments at halftime around the Holcomb punting game, he added, and they took advantage of the good field position that gave them, especially setting up the final score.
Coach Jim Turner wasn’t pleased with Holcomb’s opening score set up by Morss’ 58-yard run and the lucky bounce for a score to start the second.
But after that?
“The kids bounced back, a couple good things happened, and we got the momentum a little bit,” he said.
The scoring pass from Gooden to Faurot got his team going, Turner said. The defense stopping Holcomb on the next drive helped set up Nowak’s score.
It was the Beavers’ turn to take advantage of Holcomb’s errors, much as the ‘Horns did earlier.
“It’s the second game of the year. You’re going to struggle here and there,” he said. “But I thought the kids played pretty well and played hard.”
The momentum shift wasn’t lost on Holcomb coach Kent Teeter.
“For some reason whenever they flipped field position on us—and we had some plays—it’s better to be lucky than good sometimes,” he said, referring to the Morss-Rodriguez score. “We started the game just like we wanted to do.”
But once Faurot made his difficult catch over good coverage, that seemed to turn the tide.
“Our guy had great position, but they made a play and we didn’t. That picked them up and we didn’t have an answer for it so they owned the rest of the second quarter,” Teeter said.
“We’ve got to get better. We’ve got to use this to correct every mistake and watch a lot of film,” he added.
Scott City will travel to Cimarron (1-1) next week, while Holcomb will travel to Ulysses (0-2).