Platte County football hopes to recover from Kearney blowout vs. reeling Grandview

KEARNEY, Mo. — Grandview appears like the perfect opponent for Platte County after the Pirates suffered its first — and extremely lopsided —setback of the season.Heavy on youth and lacking in experience, Platte County hosts Grandview one week after a 52-6 loss Oct. 3 against Kearney at Kearney High School. Grandview enters at 1-6 overall with six straight losses since opening the season with a 33-6 win against Ruskin and at the bottom of the Suburban League Blue Division standings.

Platte County likely needs a pair of wins to stay in the hunt for a share of the conference crown, especially with a road date at Raytown South to conclude the season. Currently, Platte County, Raytown South, Kearney and Winnetonka are all tied for first with a 2-1 league mark.

“Everybody’s dangerous,” Platte County coach Bill Utz said. “We said at the beginning of the season every team presents different challenges. We’re going to have to play really well (vs. Grandview).

“We still have a solid team.”

Platte County (6-1) entered its road clash last week with a chance to take control of its conference and Class 4 District 8 fate.

Instead, Kearney scored 38 unanswered points and put a running clock into effect for much of the second half. Platte County dropped from No. 8 to No. 10 in the most recent Class 4 media state rankings, and the Pirates now trail Kearney in the District 8 standings but hold a solid edge on St. Joseph Lafayette and Smithville for the second spot.

Platte County dropped to 1-8 against Kearney since joining the Suburban League in 2008.

“This is really the first adversity they’ve felt, and I hope we’re going to come out of it a little bit,” Utz said. “We definitely made some mistakes that we need to fix. Again, that’s one of the things with a group that hasn’t had adversity yet. You knew it was bound to happen at one point, so hopefully next time we some we’ll react differently.”

Platte County’s troubles against Kearney started early after a botched shotgun snap on a fourth-and-one play helped end the Pirates’ opening possession.

After an incomplete desperation pass from quarterback Justin Mitchell, Kearney took over and marched 51 yards on 10 plays, capped with quarterback Johnny Weidmaier’s first of two first-half rushing scores. Platte County’s Tyler Clemens mishandled the ensuing pooch kickoff, and despite limiting the Bulldogs to Dawson Goepferich’s 42-yard field goal on that possession, the Pirates did not recover.

Mitchell finished with 105 yards passing and 63 rushing, but the majority of ground production came on a 49-yard scamper on the game’s final, short possession.

Platte County senior wide receiver turned Tyler Cooper collected seven of Mitchell’s 13 completions for 55 yards, and senior linebacker Topher Kilkenny again anchored the besieged defense, totaling a game-high 12 tackles and the Pirates’ lone stop for a loss.

Kearney (6-1), still playing without two of its top contributors on offense entered off of a 17-14 loss to Winnetonka, the same Griffins that Platte County handled in Week 5 to push up to No. 8 in the state rankings. However, the Bulldogs were up 24-0 at halftime on three touchdown runs from their two quarterbacks — Weidmaier and Logan Hinck.

“Seemed like any time we got something going, we gave up a big play,” Utz said.

Platte County’s only stop of the game came on the opening possession.

The Pirates went three-and-out to start the second half, and sophomore wide receiver Jess Davis returned Mitchell’s punt 43 yards to extend the lead to 31-0. Weidmaier collected the biggest chunk of his 120 passing yards on a 43-yard scoring strike to Harmon on the Bulldogs’ next possession.

Platte County scored on its next drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell to running back Michael McNair (31 yards rushing plus three catches for 15 yards) to briefly halt the running clock.

However, Davis returned the ensuing kickoff 66 yards to Platte County’s 16, and he scored on a reverse run on the very next play to cap a dynamic 8-minute stretch, putting Kearney ahead 45-6 with 1 minute, 48 seconds left in the third quarter. The Bulldogs’ multi-pronged run attack finished with 237 yards on 45 attempts, and running back Reagan Frakes led the way with 108, including a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to conclude the scoring.