Gutshall, Sherman tout teamwork, community in Pirate Hall of Fame speeches

Brandon Gutshall remembers seeing the star treatment for the first Pirate Hall of Fame inductees. “I wanna be a part of that some day,” the 2001 Platte County graduate said of his spoken thoughts at the time back in 1999.

Last week, Gutshall joined the exclusive club during a ceremony Thursday, Jan. 28 at Platte County High School. Zach Sherman (Class of 2002) and Arvid Johnson (Class of 1961) joined Gutshall as honorees before the Platte County girls basketball team played Kearney.

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo Zach Sherman (Class of 2002), left, and Brandon Gutshall (Class of 2001), right, were inducted into the Pirate Hall of Fame during a ceremony Thursday, Jan. 28 at Platte County High School. Both were standout athletes who helped the Pirates win state championships. Arvid Johnson, a 1961 graduate, was also honored but unable to attend.

Gutshall and Sherman achieved much of their high school notoriety as teammates on Platte County’s record-setting football team, but both spoke of not succeeding without the help of others.

“Every bit of success we achieved was not alone. It was done through teamwork,” said Sherman, who joined his father and legendary football coach Chip Sherman as members of the Pirate Hall of Fame.

A three-sport standout, Gutshall went 37-2 as a starting quarterback between 1997-2000. He earned Missouri Football Coaches Association all-state honors as a junior and senior, leading the Pirates to the Class 3A semifinals in the former and to the Class 3A state championship in the latter.

Gutshall still holds career records for passing yards (4,874) and touchdown passes (56). He’s also the single-season record holder for touchdown passes with 30 during the 2000 state championship run.

In addition, Gutshall became the fifth member of Platte County’s 1,000-point club for boys basketball and is one of just seven to reach that mark in program history. He also starred for the baseball team, helping win district titles in 2000 and 2001.

“I never played individual sports, and it’s a good thing. I certainly wouldn’t be up here if I had,” Gutshall said during his speech.

Gutshall came back to Platte City following a collegiate football career at Truman State, first volunteering as a football and baseball coach at the high school and later serving a term on the Platte County R-3 Board of Education. He’s raising his four children along with wife Meredith (Juett) Gutshall, also a Platte County graduate.

“I love this school,” Gutshall said. “I always have, and I always will. And I’ll be forever indebted to this school. It’s given me so much, and it’s so much more than the education, championships and accolades. It gave me friends for my lifetime. My goodness, it gave me my wife.

“But as much as anything else, this school taught me what it meant to be a part of a community, what it meant to be part of something bigger than yourself.”

A starter beginning with his freshman season, Sherman ended his football career with school records for rushing yards (7,727 yards), rushing touchdowns (57), points (346) and total offense (7,936 yards). He also owns three of the top four individual rushing seasons in program history — 2,850 in 2001, 1,929 in 2000 and 1,848 in 1999.

Starting with Gutshall’s senior year and Sherman’s junior year, Platte County won 52 straight games between 2000 and 2003, winning state championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002. That streak ranks second all-time in state history.

Sherman also finished as a two-time state wrestling champion — one of 10 in Platte County history to win more than once. He’s also one of only two four-time state finalists, finishing as runner-up as a freshman and sophomore. The Pirates won state titles in wrestling during his final two seasons.

Johnson, a member of Platte County’s first state championship team, lives in California and was unable to attend the ceremony.

In 1961, Johnson helped the Pirates, still known then as Platte City High School, accrue 18¼ points to win the Class C Missouri State Indoor Track and Field Championships (schools under 200 enrollment). He earned three individual medals (second in the 65-yard low hurdles, third in the 60-yard high hurdles and fourth in the broad jump) and helped the 880-yard relay team that also included Doug Pearl, Pete Buckler and David Reineke finish fourth.

Later in the spring of 1961, Platte City finished third in the Missouri State Outdoor Track and Field Championships, scoring 13½ points to finish a half point back of Faucett and Greenwood. Johnson came in third in the 180-yard low hurdles and fourth in the 120-yard high hurdles.