SCOTT CITY — Friday’s home matchup for the Scott City Beavers had a lot riding on it.
Based on history, Scott City was the favorite by a huge margin to take out league and now-district rival Colby — 14 straight wins by the Beavers, with a district title on the line.
The Beavers held off the Eagles 35-12 to remain unbeaten at 7-0 and, more importantly, improve to 4-0 and secure the top spot in district play.
Wyatt Hayes scored three times and rushed for 169 yards on senior night.
Though, Scott City didn’t score until late in the opening quarter when Hayes took the ball in from 13 yards to cap a five-play drive at the 1:36 mark. The senior did it again in the second period. After he intercepted a Jordan Schippers pass and returned it to the 7, he took it in on one play later to put the Beavers up 14-0.
The defense, which had given up just 19 points all season, held Colby scoreless until the Eagles’ final drive of the half.
Schippers led his team on a clock-stopping drive that started at their own 25. It took 15 plays over the next 3:25 before he plunged over the top from the 1-yard line to make the score 14-6 at the break.
By halftime, Scott had 135 yards of offense to Colby’s 118, but the Beavers finished with a 357-178 advantage.
Assistant coach Brian Gentry praised the defense for limiting a high-powered Colby offense to just the 12 points and fewer than 200 yards.
“Our defense was locked in. Our tackles did a better job staying lower,” he said.
The Eagle drive at the end of the first half was one of the times the defense bent, Gentry added. But going into halftime after that might have sent a message to the team.
“It’s more reminders than anything,” he said of halftime. “Just reminding them of their responsibilities.”
The sustained drive ran more quickly down the stretch, and things happen when play speeds up, Gentry said.
“That’s a big drive (for Colby), but it may have been something that locked our guys in a little bit more, too,” he added.
Coming out of halftime, the Beavers showed patience, taking the ball 65 yards on seven plays, with Hayes running untouched from the 5 for his third score. He capped the drive with Scott City’s first 2-point conversion of the season for a Beavers 22-6 lead.
On Scott City’s next series, Colby forced an 8-yard punt and took over at the Beavers’ 28-yard line.
A halfback pass from Isaac Rosales to Calvin Staap to the 2 set up a score from Hagan Booi, but Kevin Serrano stopped a run for the conversion to keep the score a two-possession game, 22-12.
Scott City answered with a 16-play drive from 72 yards, taking more than 7 minutes off the clock.
Parker Gooden found Hunter Yager wide open over the middle for a 12-yard pass play to give his team a 28-12 lead.
On their next series, the Beavers drove 64 yards for another score. Gooden found Marshall Faurot 8 yards deep in the end zone, going up over Rosales to put his team up 35-12 with 5:29 to play.
Gooden, who had three long rushing plays to keep drives alive, including 38 yards to set up the final scoring pass, praised his front line for the offense’s success, as they have done all night.
“The line did a great job all night,” he said.
The pass to Faurot was about as good as it could get, Gooden added.
“I saw him with a one-on-one matchup (with Rosales), which is a good matchup with anyone on Marshall. He’d out-run and jump over them,” he said. “I thought, let him take a shot at it, and go up and get it and he did. That was a heck of a catch.”
Scott City (7-0) travels to Concordia while Colby (6-1) will face Goodland next week.
Scott City needs to take care of business next week, Gentry said. But they are guaranteed to host a first-round playoff game.
“Every game’s a new test and new preparation, so we’ve got to be ready to go,” he said.
Gooden said his team is taking it one game at a time right now.
“We don’t want to get overconfident and overlook anyone, first off. But I feel if we play the way we can, we have a good future,” the junior said. “We’ve got to focus one game at a time and improve where we have weak spots.”