BY JIM MISUNAS
RANSOM – The Pawnee Heights defense delivered an emphatic message to defending six-man state football champion Weskan in a battle of unbeatens.
The Tigers dominated physically offensively and defensively after Weskan standout Bailey McQuillan left with an injury for a stunning 51-6 victory. Gabe Oddo sacked Weskan quarterback Jace Mackley on the half’s final play for a 36-6 lead.
Tiger tailback Kade Scott dashed for five touchdowns and 237 yards behind dominant blocking by center Caleb Karst and ends Jackson Henbest, Shawn Peterson and Gabe Oddo.
“They carry the load for me. They do all the hard work. It’s easy for me to run through the openings,” Scott said. “That was fun. That is what you hope to do.”
Scott dashed for touchdowns on runs of 15, 25, 34, 48 and 52 yards to gain 174 yards on his scores for the Tigers (4-0).
Weskan beat the Tigers, 36-18 in the state championship game and 36-25 during the regular season last year.
“Losing in the state championship game hurt a lot. We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” Scott said. “It felt really good because we worked all summer for this game.”
Dalton Hamby was the Tigers’ secret weapon with a stunning 25-yard fumble return after he ripped the football away from a Weskan ball-carrier. Hamby highlighted the victory with a dazzling spin move on his 37-yard touchdown run for a 43-6 lead.
Kicker Caleb Karst delivered four 2-point extra points as a bonus. Karst’s extra-point kick ended the game with 2:35 left in the third quarter.
Pawnee Heights coach Jeff Chambers believed the Tigers’ defense set an aggressive tone on a 97-degree afternoon. Weskan (3-1) gained 135 yards.
“We came out and hit Weskan harder than they’ve been hit,” Chambers said. “Our defense is what keyed us today. Our defense does not want anybody to score on us. We’re excited because the time we invested in the weight room paid off today. Our kids gained a lot of confidence today.”
The Tigers’ offensive and defensive front took control early. Scott scored on runs of 25, 53 and 48 yards for a 20-0 lead after Karst’s first extra point. Hamby converted a defensive score and added a rushing touchdown.
“Dalton Hamby picked it up,” Chambers said. “Kade is going his yards. I was way more than pleased. I never thought we’d beat them by 45 points.”
TIGERS 51, COYOTES 6
PH 12 24 15 – 51
Weskan 0 6 0 – 6
PH—Kade Scott 25 run (run failed), 8:00; PH—Scott 53 run (pass failed), 2:10; PH—Scott 48 run (Caleb Karst kick), 7:44; PH—Dalton Hamby 25 fumble return (Karst kick), 7:34; PH—Scott 15 run (Karst kick), 6:13; W—Tracer Vincent 12 pass from Jace Mackley (pass failed), 2:17; PH—Hamby 37 run (Scott run), 6:37; PH—Scott 34 run (Karst kick), 2:35
RUSHING—PH—22-331; Scott 14-237; Hamby 8-94; Weskan—19-36; Zach Box 10-22; Mackley 6-12; Caleb Schemm 3-2.
PASSING—PH—Trace Baker 1-6-1, 6; Weskan—Mackley 11-21-0, 99.
RECEIVING—PH—Jackson Henbest 1-6; Weskan—Dallas Seader 2-47; Mac Purvis 2-17; Schemm 2-16; Vincent 2-10; Isaic 1-7, Box 2-2.