SCOTT CITY Colby second-year coach Rees McKinney is a former Scott City football player and Beaver graduate. He has watched the Beavers build one of Kansas’ elite programs with 32 straight non-losing seasons and continually deliver top players.
In McKinney’s eyes, SC’s difference comes in the weight room. Beaver senior running back Wyatt Hayes agrees.
On Friday, Scott City’s blend of talent, experience, veteran leadership and a key controversial late fourth-and-short play led to a 35-12 home victory versus the Eagles.
“They put us in crazy situations all the time,” Hayes said of the summer. “We get up at 5 o’clock in the morning just to get out here and just to work out. That makes us better people, and a lot better football players. You get to spend a lot of time with your family down in the weight room. Summer – all the time – summer’s big for us.”
Scott City, ranked No. 2 in Class 3A, improved to 7-0, won the GWAC title and moved to 4-0 in District 8.
“Weight room, that’s pivotal to any good program,” McKinney said. “If you have a good weight program, you are going to keep producing good athletes over and over, because they want it. They’ve got their brain in the game. They want to win every game, because they sacrifice a lot.”
Colby, ranked ninth in the classification and off to its best start since 1990, dropped to 6-1, 3-1. Scott City outscored the Eagles 21-6 in the second half. Scott City has won 15 straight in the series.
“I am not too upset about the loss,” McKinney said. “A lot of times you learn more from a close loss than you do a big blowout, so it should be a good learning experience for us.”
Hayes, a returning all-state player, delivered another big game with 32 carries for 155 yards and three rushing scores.
“It has a lot to do with the line,” Hayes said. “Just getting a great push and everything. It’s easy to get 10 yards when they are pushing everybody back seven.”
Late in the first half, Hayes, a three-year starter known for his motor, picked off a pass deep in Colby territory that set up a touchdown. In the fourth quarter, coach Jim Turner asked Hayes if he was tired. Hayes said no.
“He has got incredible feet,” Turner said. “There’s a couple of runs he makes us look good, because we miss some blocks, and he just shakes people off. He’s a very talented kid. There’s sometimes in practice, he will make a cut, and just jump outside, and we are like, ‘Wow, he’s pretty good.’”
Scott City senior quarterback Parker Gooden, a returning starter, finished 8 of 13 passing for 104 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Gooden hadn’t scrambled much this fall but often found one side of the field with little defense. He delivered 10 carries for 76 yards, including runs of 41 and 31 yards.
“The biggest probably difference is, we could throw the ball around a little bit,” Turner said.
Senior Marshall Faurot, an excellent all-around athlete and multi-year starter, battled a torn muscle late in track season and most of the summer.
He made a touchdown-saving tackle on a long run from Schippers in the first half and had a pass defended. In the fourth quarter, he outjumped Colby senior Isaac Rosales 1-on-1 on a 3rd-and-11 play for a 23-yard touchdown pass.
“Versatile,” Hayes said. “He is all over the place. If they have a good kid on the edge, we will put him on. Marshall is probably our best coverage guy we have. Probably one of the best in the state.”
The Faurot score came after Colby was stopped short at the Beaver 37-yard line on 4th-and-1 with 8 minutes, 6 seconds left on a Schippers run. He was tackled near the Colby sideline, very close to McKinney.
The officials brought out the chains and took an extremely long look at the ball and first down marker.
The lead official went to his knees to check to line to gain as McKinney grew animated on the sideline. McKinney saw the nose of the ball pass the first down stick. The officials called Scott City ball.
“That’s a first down,” McKinney said. “That completely swung momentum. He just didn’t want to make the call. Then, he rolled the ball, and as he rolled it to it, he pushed it downhill and away from the stick. I mean, it was just a bad call. He should have made his decision regardless of what the crowd thought.”
Then, Beavers went 63 yards in six plays and for the final points.
“It was really close too,” Hayes said of the call. “I mean, maybe a finger. … It kind of felt like we just secured the game right there.”
Scott City led 7-0 after the first quarter on a 12-yard run from Hayes. Colby had poor field position several times but forced a punt and Schippers picked off a pass in the red zone.
Schippers, a two-time all-state player, has changed positions this fall and taken over at quarterback. He finished with 14 carries for 81 yards and a score.
“He is a phenomenal player,” McKinney said. “Any college team that gets him is going to be so lucky. He works his tail off.”
Schippers completed 7 of 16 passes for 60 yards and two interceptions. With 3:36 in the first half, Hayes picked off a short line drive throw and returned it to the Colby 7. He scored on the next play for a 14-0 lead.
However, Colby tallied a touchdown just before halftime on a 1-yard run from Schippers, and the Beavers led 14-6 at intermission. Scott City opened the second half with an 8-play, 65-yard drive – all rushes – and a 5-yard TD run from Hayes.
“Basically just drive it down their throat,” Hayes said. “We knew that they weren’t going to like that anymore, and just keep going, and just keep grinding all night.”
Scott City often ran behind the right side of its line with senior guard Kyle Sherwood and senior Chase Cupp, in his first year at tackle.
“They are pretty darn good,” Turner said. “Kyle is a great blocking guard, and he is quick and agile and can pull and stuff, and Cupp base blocks great and down blocks nice, and that’s a lot of what we do out of his spot. He likes it a lot more than guard.”
Hayes had just one carry for negative yards and had at least five yards on 17 carries. Cupp helped with several big blocks on Gooden’s big runs.
“There’s nothing better than that,” Sherwood said. “I see (Wyatt) get just five yards. That makes my game so much better. That makes me feel so happy on the inside, watch him run. He can keep those feet moving, that’s for sure.
“He does a really good job at reading blocks for sure, so that helps us out a lot,” he added. “We all communicate I think really well. Most of us have spent at least two years with each other.”
Colby cut the advantage to 22-12 with a 3-yard TD run from sophomore Hagan Booi.
SC, with Hayes seeing the bulk of the carries, responded with a 15-play, 72-yard drive that ended with a 12-yard pass from Gooden to junior Hunter Yager for a 28-12 lead. Colby tried to come back but had its next drive thwarted by the fourth down call.