Beavers soar past Eagles in GWAC opener, 59-19
Scott City senior Trey O'Neil steps in front of Colby receiver Brady Holzmeister for an interception during second quarter action.
By Rod Haxton, editor
Trey O’Neil knows that Scott City will always be a football team that emphasizes the run.
So when the senior quarterback has passing opportunities he wants to make the most of them. O’Neil did just that, passing for 200 yards and four touchdowns in a 59-19 romp at Colby in Great West Activities Conference play on Friday.
It’s not as though the Eagles were able to escape Scott City’s relentless ground game either. The Beavers (2-0) rolled up 286 yards which were spread among nine different backs in a 486 yard offensive explosion.
O’Neil looked a lot more comfortable in the pocket, in large part because his offensive line did a much better job than in their opener at providing pass protection. That was particularly impressive considering Colby’s steady diet of pressure from their linebackers.
“The line did a nice job of picking up the inside linebackers because they were coming on just about every play,” says O’Neil. “After struggling like I did last week at getting the ball to our backs it felt good to connect with them better tonight.”
O’Neil was an impressive 14-of-17 passing with 11 completions covering 10 or more yards. His big offensive night included 34 yards rushing - 33 on an option keeper that set up the game’s second touchdown - and an interception return of 48 yards.
Senior tight end Sloan Baker was on the receiving end of two 19 yard touchdown passes and senior wideout Brett Meyer, who finished with a team high 67 receiving yards, added a 19 yard scoring catch. The fourth passing touchdown was a 10 yard catch by junior receiver Drake McRae.
“Our passing game is looking pretty good and the line is stepping it up,” says Meyer. “Last year, Colby was able to bring a lot of pressure against the pass and it seemed that Trey was scrambling on just about every play. This time around Trey had more time to look for his receivers. Drake, me and Sloan are big targets and that also helps.”
Head coach Glenn O’Neil was satisfied with the passing game. He still has big concerns with line play in the running game.
“Even though we had a lot of rushing yards it wasn’t between the tackles,” he noted, with the exception of a 41 yard run by runningback Wyatt Kropp. “Most of it came on the edges where you don’t have to worry about blocking the interior of the line for very long.”
Defense and special teams will also be getting a lot of attention after giving up 19 points and 229 yards rushing.
“Our defense is missing way too many tackles and that’s not just on kickoff coverage,” O’Neil says. “They had a 50 yard touchdown run against our first group because we were misaligned. We have too many guys who are doing their own thing.
“This week the plan is to drill, drill, drill on blocking and tackling phases of the game.”
Take Control Early
Scott City scored on its first six possessions and, for the second consecutive game, Tre Stewart got the Beavers on the scoreboard with a 30 yard field goal on their first drive.
The game wasn’t yet 7-1/2 minutes old by the time Baker caught the first of his two TD passes and fullback Cooper Griffith had finished off a 57 yard drive with a one yard run to open up a 17-0 lead.
The Beavers gave up their first points of the season late in the first quarter on a 50 yard run by Colby junior Matthew Pieper.
That was followed by three more SCHS touchdowns less than three minutes apart early in the second period. The scoring burst began with a 68 yard drive that needed just six plays - including a 14 yard pass to Meyer and a 16 yard run by Chantz Yager - before O’Neil and Baker again connected on a 19 yard scoring pass.
The Eagles then had two kickoff returns that provided great field position only to waste both opportunities with interceptions.
With the ball at the SCHS 46 following a kickoff return, Colby’s first play was a deep pass over the middle that was picked off by Meyer and returned 43 yards along the Scott City sideline. For a moment it appeared that Meyer might have a pick-six, but the official said he stepped out of bounds “by that much,” holding his thumb and finger less than an inch apart. From the Colby 30, O’Neil completed a 10 yard pass to Yager and a 20 yard pass in the end zone to Meyer who had to reach over a defender who was face-guarding him.
“That wasn’t an easy catch. The cornerback had his hand in my face on about every pass play,” noted Meyer.
Two plays later, Colby again tried to test the SCHS secondary with the same result. This time it was O’Neil returning the interception 40 yards to the Eagles’ 15. Three plays later, O’Neil connected with McRae who was wide open coming across the middle, stretching the lead to 38-7.
“Colby was playing with eight guys in the box and that allowed us to go deep or to cut across the field for open passes,” said Meyer.
Kropp Busts TD
Kropp, a junior tailback, gained nearly half of his team high 87 yards rushing on a 41 yard burst through the middle on Scott City’s first possession of the second half that put the Beavers on top, 45-7.
Colby followed with a 72 yard kickoff return.
The Beavers, who turned four Colby turnovers into 24 points, capitalized on a fumble at midfield late in the third quarter. That led to a methodical 10-play drive that ended with a two yard run by Yager.
Colby added one more touchdown against the junior varsity defense and then the SCHS JV offense answered with a touchdown of their own, covering 62 yards in almost 4-1/2 minutes. Keeping the ball on the ground the entire drive, sophomore Kevin Lozano finished off the possession with a one yard scoring run.
In six attempts, Colby didn’t have a single pass completion to their own receivers.
“We made some good adjustments in the zone, breaking on the ball instead of chasing people,” said Coach O’Neil.
In addition to the two interceptions, there were also a couple of knockdowns by linebackers Marshall Hutchins and Sloan Baker.
“Any time you can limit a team to zero yards (passing) you have to be happy. I wasn’t because they only threw once or twice. We did a good job of taking that part of the game away from them,” says O’Neil.
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