It was not the ghosts and goblins that spelled doom for the Platte County football team on Halloween night – it was the Pirates themselves.
Platte County turned the football over four times in the first half of its Class 4 District 8 clash with Smithville at Pirates stadium Thursday night. The Warriors cashed in on their way to 40 unanswered first-half points, then held on down the stretch for a 40-32 victory.
The loss was Platte County’s fourth straight and ended the Pirates’ season at 4-6 Smithville moved to 6-4 and will play Liberty North in the district semifinals Nov. 6.
The game featured three wild momentum shifts.
Platte County scored the games’ first 12 points in the first four minutes on two Tyler Cooper touchdown passes - a 50-yard bomb from to wide out Aliek Reed and an 11-yard strike to Zach Hamilton.
But the momentum shifted when a long kickoff return by Reed was nullified due to penalty. A fumbled Platte County snap followed and Smithville took the lead 13-12 on a Mitchell Orr run.
Disasters struck for the Pirates in the second quarter when Cooper threw a pick-6 for one touchdown and threw another interception which led to a short TD for another Warriors score. Smithville stuck the dagger in with another Orr run with 20 seconds left to play in the first half for 40-12 lead.
Platte County tried to come back in the fourth quarter. Jordan Branson took over for Cooper at quarterback and engineered three touchdown drives in the span of five minutes. Branson threw TD passes to Matthew Barmann and two to Reed that pulled the Pirates to with 40-32 with just under four minutes left.
But Smithville took the ensuing kickoff and never gave the ball back to Platte County- the Warriors churned out first downs behind power running from Nolan Gromacki and ran out the clock.
Branson finished with a monster night, accumulating 86 yards rushing, while passing for 174 yards and the three scores.
Smithville was paced by Gromacki and Charlie Nihart, who combined to rush for 213 yards.
JAYS RUN AWAY FROM PANTHERS IN SECOND HALF
What looked like it might make for a close game in the first half, quickly got out of hand in the third quarter as West Platte rattled off three touchdowns in the third quarter to put away North Platte in Thursday night’s Class 1 District 7 matchup.
The Jays and Panthers traded scores in the first quarter – with Josh Rife scoring for West Platte and Kyle Bledsoe answering for the Panthers.
In the second quarter, Jack Callahan broke a bootleg for eight yards to send it to halftime with the Jays ahead 14-6.
The third quarter was all West Platte and Colton Goodlet.
Goodlet scored three times in the quarter – on runs of 24, 21 and 53 yards – as West Platte racked up 240 rushing yards in the quarter.
Callahan tacked on a 51-yard run in the fourth to reach the final margin.
Goodlet ran for 208 yards on 15 carries, Callahan toted it eight times for 115 yards and Rife ran eight times for 75 yards. Bledsoe led North Platte with 93 yards on 26 carries.
North Platte ends the year 0-10 while West Platte (3-7) moves on to face Lone Jack in the district semifinals next Wednesday night. Lone Jack defeated Orrick 43-0 Thursday night.
PARK HILL SOUTH STIFLES PARK HILL AGAIN
For the second time in six days, the Park Hill South defense shut down Park Hill, helping the Panthers post a 24-3 Class 5 District 8 victory Thursday night at Park Hill District Stadium. In the regular season finale Oct. 25, the Panthers won 38-0.
South quarterback Carson Reid threw for 208 yards and hooked up with wide receiver Nick Griffith for two scores, while senior back Ronnie Bertelsmeyer had a 64-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and finished with 112 yards rushing.
Park Hill could only muster 65 yards of total offense and its lone points came on a 32-yard field goal by Parker Sampson in the second quarter.
South, 6-4 moves on to play district top seed Kearney Nov. 6, Park Hill finishes the season 3-7.
Look for more complete coverage in next week’s print version of The Citizen.