GARDEN PLAIN — Despite yielding a touchdown to Beloit on the third play from scrimmage and falling into a 20-8 first-quarter hole, Garden Plain came roaring back to grind out a 50-34 victory Friday in a Class 3A quarterfinal.
Garden Plain will await the winner of today’s quarterfinal between Scott City (11-0) and Central Plains League rival Conway Springs. If Conway wins, Friday’s semifinal will be at Garden Plain; if Scott City wins, it would play host to the Owls.
The Owls (11-1) took command early in the second half, using a devastating ground attack to score 42 points in the final three quarters, powered by senior Joey Capul’s six touchdowns.
Capul rushed 14 times for 205 yards, including scores of 65 and 58 yards. He even managed a touchdown off his own fumble at the Beloit 13-yard line, racing into the end zone and diving on it for the score.
“I was scared,” Capul said. “It got kind of stripped from my hands, and I saw it rolling on the ground, and I said, ‘Oh man, I’d better get this,’ so I just fell on it as fast as I could.”
Quarterback Lucas Jennings said he wasn’t surprised at that score.
“That’s the kind of guy he is,” Jennings said. “He’s a playmaker. He was just in a zone tonight, like he always is.”
Capul said the Owls just kept focus after Beloit’s early scoring flurry.
“We’ve been having close games for the past couple of weeks, and we just say keep your heads up and keep going,” he said. “Our guys came together and played a great game tonight.”
Meanwhile, the Garden Plain defense limited the Trojans (9-3) to one second-half touchdown, after the Owls had the game firmly in hand. One of Jennings’ two interceptions was converted into a score.
“They came out and they put two on us real quick, but we’ve been in that situation before,” Jennings said. “We’ve played on our heels before, but nobody’s been able to push us over on our heels.
“We fight back, we always keep our heads up and we’re never down.”
Garden Plain acting coach Greg Gegen said the Owls knew they had to adjust after the first quarter.
“We really don’t think one way or the other, we just kind of refocus,” he said. “They were controlling the line of scrimmage in the first quarter, and I think our kids refocused and I don’t think anybody panicked. It’s just a testament to our players that they play four hard quarters.”
Capul gave the Owls the lead for good on the first play from scrimmage in the second half, taking a direct snap at his 42 and outrunning the Trojans to the end zone. Beloit turned the ball over on downs on its next possession, and Garden Plain needed just five plays to score on Jennings’ 15-yard run.
Capul is the consummate team player, Gegen said.
“Joey would be the first to tell you that he doesn’t do it by himself, it’s a team effort and he happens to be the guy carrying the ball, but I wouldn’t want to tackle him,” Gegen said.
Beloit (9-3) 20 8 0 6 — 34
Garden Plain (11-1) 8 14 14 14 — 50
B—Vetter 70 run (pass failed)
B—Budke 10 pass from Vetter (pass failed)
GP—Capul 33 run (Capul run)
B—Niemczyk 34 run (Vetter run)
GP—Capul 65 run (Jennings run)
GP—Capul 16 run (run failed)
B—Budke 9 pass from Vetter (Vetter run)
GP—Capul 58 run (pass failed)
GP—Jennings 15 run (Jennings run )
GP—Capul 15 run (run failed)
GP—Capul recovered fumble in end zone (Becker pass from Jennings)
B—Behymer 3 pass from Vetter (pass failed)
H—Last name 1 run (Last name kick)
H—Last name 1 run (Last name kick)
Rushing— Beloit, Vetter 16-123, Niemczyk 7-54, Krone 4-15, Behymer 16-55. Garden Plain, Capul 14-205, Doyle 3-24, Jennings 10-73, Clark 2-6.
Passing— Beloit, Vetter 9-16-3-91. Garden Plain, Jennings 1-4-0-20.
Receiving— Beloit, Budke 5-68, Krone 1-4, Behymer 1-3, Niemczyk 1-2, Brummer 1-14. Garden Plain, Becker 1-20.