GARDEN PLAIN, Kan.—They say it’s not how you start; it’s how you finish. The Garden Plain Owls took that cliché to heart Friday night, overcoming a strong Beloit onslaught in the first half, and storming back to put away the Trojans with a 50-34 victory.
The Beloit offense set the tone of the game on the third play from scrimmage as quarterback Payton Vetter scampered 70 yards down the sideline, putting the Trojans on top by six just 81 seconds into the game. After a Garden Plain three-and-out, Beloit jumped on top 12-0 with a 10-yard touchdown catch by tight end Austin Budke.
The two score deficit opened the eyes of the Garden Plain players, and they immediately responded, with a 33-yard touchdown run by senior running back Joey Capul – who carried the load for the Owls by crossing the goal line six times.
The Trojans weren’t fazed, however, as they scored with two seconds left in the first half to take a 28-22 lead at the break.
The second half belonged to the Owls.
Capul put his team on his back in the last 24 minutes, going 58 yards on the first play of the second half; one of his three touchdowns in the final two quarters. His other two scores came from 15 yards and 12 yards out. The senior finished with 218 yards on 15 carries.
“The thing we were really pleased with is how our kids continued to scrap and fight no matter what is going on,” Coach Greg Gegen said. “Again, it is another game that had tremendous momentum shifts and we were pleased our kids dug in their heals and kept scrapping.”
That continued fight in the Owls led to interceptions and fourth down stops by Garden Plain, which resulted in extending the lead, and their season. Lucas Jennings intercepted two passes intended for Trojans, and then watched Capul help Garden Plain run away with the victory.
“We always say never give up and play four quarters, and it shows tonight what happens when you never give up,” Capul said. “We have been working on getting a variety of backs and working on some motion.
I give all my credit to those guys [offensive line and blocking backs] and I couldn’t do it with out them.”
The Beloit Trojans season comes to an end, finishing with a record of 9-3, but as tears flowed down the faces of his players, Coach Greg Koenig couldn’t be more proud of what his team accomplished in 2011.
“First of all, lots of credit to Garden Plain; an outstanding, physical football team,” Koenig added. “We have had so much adversity this year, and our kids never quit.
We are awfully young and hopefully we can take that adversity and grow from it, learn from it and be better next year.”
The Owl win earned them a sectional championship and a spot in sub-state, where they will face the winner of the Conway Springs versus Scott City game on Saturday evening.