Scott City jumps out early, rolls TMP
By NICK McQUEEN
By halftime of Friday night's Class 3A, District 15 matchup at Lewis Field Stadium, it was clear the Thomas More Prep-Marian High School football team probably wasn't going to be able to knock off defending 3A champion Scott City.
Trailing 41-0, all Monarch second-year head coach John Montgomery wanted to see was his team win the second half, and build some momentum heading into next week's playoff play-in game at Hoisington.
Still, the fact remained, Scott City was dominant in the first half and cruised to a 51-7 win to move to 7-1, 2-0 in district play.
The Monarchs dropped to 2-5 and 1-1 in district play, setting up a win-and-in game this week.
"They came out and really put the pedal down right off the bat," Montgomery said of Scott City, which scored three touchdowns on three possessions in the first quarter, with four TMP punts. "It stunned our guys. We felt like we were just in a daze the whole first half until we were able to get in the locker room and kind of regroup a little bit."
The Monarchs provided little resistance to anything Scott City wanted to do before intermission. By halftime, Scott City rolled up 377 yards of offense and averaged 26.5 yards on its six scoring plays. The Beavers scored on all but one possession, when TMP stopped them on fourth-and-13.
TMP punted five times and lost two fumbles before intermission, and Scott City turned all but one possession switch into points.
"We've got to be able to bounce back after a quick attack like Scott City had," Montgomery said. "Momentum plays such a big factor. When they got a couple quick scores and we turn the ball over a couple of times. Then we're just hanging our head."
TMP went into the locker room with two first downs and 91 yards of offense, so Montgomery just wanted his team to focus as if it were a scoreless tie coming out.
"...We started to get some turnovers and the life comes back into the sideline," Montomery said. "We have to do a better job of managing our emotions. There are going to be ups and downs. We have to do a better job of not letting those emotions get the best of us."
Scott City fumbled three times and lost two of them in the third quarter with a backup quarterback, but managed a 27-yard field goal that capped an 8-plus minute drive to go up 44-0. But, TMP put together a 55-yard yard scoring drive, kept alive by a 35-yard pass on fourth-and-12 by junior quarterback Max Megaffin to senior Levi Dreiling. Then, Megaffin hit senior Grant Romme for his first TD catch to pull within 44-7.
Romme, who is listed at 5-foot-9, outjumped a defender and pulled it out of his hands for the score.
"He used all of that," Montgomery said. "All of his height, all of his arm reach, and all of that vertical jump he worked so hard for over the summer to get up there and snag that ball out and really pull it away from a defender too."
Romme was one of eight different receivers Megaffin found in finishing 12 of 33 for 169 yards. He also threw an interception on fourth-and-10.
Montgomery was pleased to see Megaffin toss the ball around. In the first half, he missed a few receivers on deep balls that could have been big gains.
"It's no secret (Ryan Mayorga) has been a go-to receiver," Montgomery said. "Anytime Max can spread the ball around forces the defense to not really isolate or focus on one receiver. Now they are having to cover three or four guys every pass play.
"Max did a great job improvising at times. Some times he was running for his life, but he was able to keep his eyes downfield and find an open receiver."
Scott City, after the big first half, finished with 539 yards of offense -- 433 on the ground from 11 different ball carriers. TMP's run game stalled all night and finished with 58 yards. Scott City starting QB Trey O'Neil finished 7 of 8 for 103 yards. Senior Paco Banda led the Beavers' ground game with 14 carries for 129 yards and sophomore Wyatt Kropp scored three TDs on five carries for 84 yards.
TMP can still get in the playoffs with a win Thursday at Hoisington (3-4). The Cardinals upended Russell, 53-14, on Friday.
"As much as this one stings, to know the door is still open and there is something still to fight and play for, that's a huge thing to go into next week with," Montgomery said. "Whoever wants it the most Thursday is going to get it."