By RICK PETERSON
Shawnee Heights was down, but certainly not out in Friday's United Kansas Conference clash with city rival Seaman at Wetter Field.
Down by 21 points early in the third quarter, the T-Birds mounted an impressive comeback, capped by a 10-yard touchdown run from senior quarterback Ryeki Tuley that gave Shawnee Heights a 33-30 overtime win over the Vikings.
"We had a designed QB keeper to the left side and I had my running back blocking for me and he told me to just hit that edge and go,'' Tuley said. "I had some fantastic blocking by my tight end and my running back and it was wide open. Anybody could have ran it in, really. It was fantastic.''
Seaman (2-1 overall, 2-1 UKC) drew first blood in OT on a 38-yard field goal from junior Ethan Geiger, but Tuley answered with the game-winning TD on the T-Birds' first snap in overtime as Shawnee Heights improved to 3-0 overall and in the league.
Seaman took the opening kickoff and drove 80 yards in eight plays for the game's first score, a 41-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Max Huston to senior Callen Barta (kick failed) and the Vikings went up 13-0 with 10:22 left in the first half on a 5-yard pass from Huston to senior Jack Bloom (Geiger kick).
Shawnee Heights got on the board with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Tuley to senior Jayden Moore (run failed) but Seaman answered with an 11-yard TD run from Bloom (Geiger kick) to give the Vikings a 20-6 halftime lead.
Seaman added to its advantage on its first possession of the second half when Huston hit Barta for an 80-yard touchdown strike (Geiger kick) but Shawnee Heights came storming back.
"This is a resilient team,'' Tuley said. "We're never down, we never give up. It's places that we've been before and regardless of the score we think we're going to win at all times and we never lose energy and we never lose faith in each other. It really is a family so even when we're down in our minds we're winning and we're coming back to win.''
The T-Birds cut into Seaman's lead with a 3-yard third-quarter run from Tuley (Camden Granado kick) and got within a touchdown on a 14-yard TD pass from Tuley to senior Jacob Malcom (Granado kick) with 2:24 left in the third.
Shawnee Heights forced the overtime on a 17-yard Tuley run (Granado kick) with just 1:25 left in regulation before pulling out the win in OT, the T-Birds' second straight UKC nailbiting victory after edging Lansing, 26-25, in Week 2.
"I'll give credit to our kids because if we don't have last week we may not have this week,'' Shawnee Heights coach Jason Swift said. "We had to come back and go through this same thing and we could tell ourselves, 'We've been there,' and that's something that played in our favor.
"It's a great Senior Night for them. They kept their poise, they kept their composure and more importantly they believed in each other and that's the making of a good team when you're down three scores and you don't point fingers. Instead you look and say, 'Hey, we've got this.' '''
Much of Friday's game was played in a light to steady rain.
"The rain made the ball a little slick but that's just part of of the game,'' Tuley said. "You've got to play with it, you've got to do what you do, and at the end of the day, a win is a win.''
Shawnee Heights played without injured star senior running back Allen Baughman and standout senior linebacker Alex Dittman.
Shawnee Heights will travel to Basehor-Linwood next Friday while Seaman will travel to Lansing.
SHAWNEE HEIGHTS 33, SEAMAN 30 (OT)
Seaman (2-1, 2-1) 6 14 7 0 3 -- 30
Shawnee Heights (3-0, 3-0) 0 6 14 7 6 -- 33
Seaman --Callen Barta 41 pass from Max Huston (kick failed)
Seaman -- Jack Bloom 5 pass from Max Huston (Ethan Geiger kick)
Shawnee Heights -- Jayden Moore 15 pass from Ryeki Tuley (run failed)
Seaman -- Jack Bloom 11 run (Ethan Geiger kick)
Seaman -- Callen Barta 80 pass from Max Huston (Ethan Geiger kick)
Shawnee Heights -- Ryeki Tuley 3 run (Camden Granado kick)
Shawnee Heights -- Jacob Malcom 14 pass from Ryeki Tuley (Camden Granado kick)
Shawnee Heights -- Ryeki Tuley 17 run (Camden Granado kick)
Seaman -- Ethan Geiger 38 FG
Shawnee Heights -- Ryeki Tuley 10 run