By BRETT MARSHALL
It was a finish that everyone would have remembered, and years later, they still well.
For the Scott City Beavers, after a 46-year wait, it ended with a 16-14 victory over the Garden City Buffaloes on Friday night at Memorial Stadium before an estimated crowd of more than 4,000 fans.
For the Buffaloes, it was a major disappointment as it spoiled the debut of new head coach Brian Hill, who was in his first game ever as a head coach.
For Garden City's Carlos Chavez, the 44-yard field goal attempt that fell just short, will be a disappointment, although Hill said he got everything into the three-point attempt that would have won the game with 30.8 seconds remaining.
"We talked about our options and that was the best option we had to win the game," a disappointed Hill said afterward. "He (Chavez) got everything into the kick, and we knew that he was right at his limit, and I thought he really kicked it well."
The would-be last-minute heroics of Chavez would have been the final piece of a furious comeback by the Class 6A Buffs, who were outplayed for much of the game by the Class 3A Beavers.
For history's sake, it was the first time the two schools had met since 1964 and the Beavers ended a 17-game winning streak by the Buffs that really didn't mean much to the current day players or coaches.
"Bottom line, we just made too many mistakes to overcome them," Hill said.
Four turnovers — two fumbles and two interceptions — proved to be the undoing of the Buffs.
When Scott City scored on Ron Baker's 1-yard sneak with 11:21 left in the game, it appeared the Beavers were well on their way to a convincing victory with an impressive 16-0 lead.
But the Buffs didn't fold. And Hill was happy about that.
"It would have been real easy to shut it down at that point," Hill said. "But we won't play that way and the kids fought their hearts out. I'm proud of them for that. But we've got a lot of work to do."
Scott City opened the third quarter with a 66-yard scoring drive, capped off by a TD strike from Baker to junior tight end Luke Hayes.
"I got out in the flat, and Ron threw it perfectly to me," Hayes said. "We've practiced that play, and he just put it on my outside shoulder right there."
The play covered the final 28 yards and provided the Beavers some momentum to start the second half.
"You just can't let somebody get out like that," Hill said. "It was reflective of the first half, though, when we played most of it on our end on defense. They just wore us down."
Following that opening touchdown, the Buffs dug themselves another hole deep in their own territory when Braxston Medina bobbled the kickoff and carried the ball out of bounds at the GCHS 7-yard line. Three plays and a penalty later, Garden City quarterback Cody Bernbeck was sacked in the end zone for a safety, giving the Beavers a 9-0 lead with 4:59 go to in the third.
Garden City's comeback started after Scott City's first turnover of the game, a fumble by Baker at the Beavers' 41.
A reverse to speedster Raul Silva went for 28 yards, and a penalty tacked on another six yards to put the Buffs at the Scott City 6-yard line. Junior Zach Lamb then sprung free on a burst up the middle for the Buffs' first score at the 7:38 mark. Bernbeck then found Keith Curran on a crossing pattern in the end zone for a two-point conversion, cutting the lead in half at 16-8.
The Beavers coughed up the ball three plays later when Baker was intercepted by Fito Espino, but then the Buffs returned the ball when Gerardo Holguin fumbled the ball after catching a pass from Bernbeck.
Scott City went four-and-out on its next possession, missing on a critical fourth-and-one at the Garden City 46.
Back in business, Bernbeck went back to his favorite target, Silva, and the two seniors hooked up on a deep pattern over the middle for a 53-yard scoring strike with 3:25 to go.
The Buffs' try for two was similar to its earlier success, but Scott City's Hayes batted it down at the line of scrimmage, keeping the Beavers up by two, 16-14.
"I noticed that he was coming over like the first one, so I just ran straight down the line of scrimmage and dove for it," Hayes said of his batted ball.
Following another Beaver stalled drive and punt, the Buffs took over at their own 40. They made it to the Scott City 11-yard line on two Bernbeck completions and two Scott City penalties. On first down from the 11, the ball was snapped over Bernbeck's head and he had to fall on the ball all the way back on the 32. Two plays netted three yards and it was left to Chavez' leg to give the Buffs the victory, but he came just short of getting the ball over the crossbar.
"It's really tough. We beat ourselves," said a dejected Bernbeck. "Give Scott City credit, they were prepared. We just waited too long to get started. We gave ourselves a shot, but we just didn't play our game."
Defenses dominated the first half and neither team could crack the scoring column, although the Beavers spent much of the first quarter deep in Garden City territory. The Buffs could advance no further than the Scott City 33 in the opening half while the Beavers missed a field goal attempt in the first quarter. The teams combined for seven punts before intermission.
Scott City finished with 188 yards rushing on 48 attempts while Garden was limited to 60 yards on 28 carries. Bernbeck finished with a respectable 13-for-22 for 172 yards and the one touchdown, but had the two interceptions. Baker was kept in check and ended his struggling night with 3-of-14 passing for 29 yards and one interception.
Both teams are on the road next Friday. The Buffaloes are at Woodward, Okla. for a 7:30 p.m. game while Scott City heads to Holcomb for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Scott City 0 0 9 7 -- 16
Garden City 0 0 0 14 -- 14
SC --Luke Hayes 28 pass from Ron Baker (Brett O'Neil kick), 6:35
SC — Cody Bernbeck, GC, tackled in end zone, safety, 4:59
SC — Ron Baker 1 run (Brett O'Neil kick), 11:21
GC — Zach Lamb 6 run (Keith Curran pass from Cody Bernbeck), 7:38
GC — Raul Silva 53 pass from Cody Bernbeck (pass failed)
Team Stats SC GC
1st Downs 12 11
Passing Yards29 172
Passes 3-14-1 13-22-2
Punts-Avg. 5-39.0 5-37.2
Rushing — Scott City: Baker 12-59, Buehler 4-8, Smith 4-8, Kough 6-13, Williams 20-87, Couchman 2-13. Garden City: Bernbeck 10-(-27), Silva 1-28, Lamb 17-65.
Passing — Scott City: Baker 3-14-1--29. Garden City: Bernbeck 13-22-2--172.
Receiving — Scott City: Kough 1-7, O'Neil 2-22. Garden City: Silva 10-117, Foley 1-21, DeLaRosa 1-26, Holguin 1-5, Lamb 1-3.