By Scott Paske, Special to CJOnline.com
That wasn’t O’Neil’s perspective shortly after the Beavers rallied in the second half to stun Silver Lake 28-21.
“No, not really, because I was puking my guts out at 3 in the morning last night,” O’Neil said.
Throw in the fact that O’Neil’s backfield mate, 1,900-yard rusher Dalton Buehler, was severely limited by a high ankle sprain, and Scott City’s bid for its first state title in 21 years was in jeopardy at the start. But after a wild chain of events in the second half, O’Neil hit Drew Kite on an 8-yard touchdown pass with 47 seconds remaining to complete a rally from a 21-point deficit that denied Silver Lake its eighth state title and an unbeaten season.
“It was just two good teams going back and forth, and they were able to make plays that we didn’t down the stretch,” Silver Lake coach C.J. Hamilton said.
Despite an opportunistic start from its offense and a solid defensive effort, Silver Lake (13-1) couldn’t hold off Scott City’s charge. The Eagles committed three turnovers, had a punt blocked and managed just 44 yards of offense after building a 21-7 halftime lead.
After a dreadful start in which Scott City (14-0) surrendered three touchdown drives of less than 40 yards, momentum started teetering the Beavers’ way just before the break. O’Neil connected with younger brother Trey O’Neil for a 23-yard touchdown four seconds ahead of intermission for Scott City’s first points.
“We were one bad play from making it tougher,” Scott City coach Glenn O’Neil said. “We were just looking for one more good play to get something going. We got it right before halftime.”
Still, Hamilton liked Silver Lake’s position. The Eagles got the ball to start the second half, and a brisk south wind would be at their backs in the fourth quarter.
“We were good; we were solid,” Hamilton said of his team’s halftime demeanor. “The main problem for us the whole (second) half was field position.”
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