Bluejays senior quarterback Cody Guthrie fumbled on their first possession and then threw an interception on a third-and-34 play that Plattsburg’s Mason Cross returned for a touchdown on the second series. More turnovers highlighted a 40-26 loss to the now-Class 1 District 7-leading Tigers, who leaped in front of the Bluejays with the win.
West Platte briefly led but eventually wilted against bruising running back Le’Aaron Hicks. The more-than-250-pound tailback racked up 211 yards on 30 carries, including two scores.
“We had some turnovers, and they pound the ball at you,” West Platte coach Nate Danneman said. “Sometimes, it’s just not our cup of tea. What they do, they do well. They run the ball hard. They are a physical group. They play well on defense, very sound. We just did not play very good tonight.”
Despite the early miscues, the score ended up tied at halftime.
West Platte (6-2) initially recovered from the 12-point deficit to take a 14-12 lead on two 1-yard plunges from fullback Brett Shepardson. Plattsburg defensive back Tanner Bahora intercepted another Guthrie pass and returned that one 73 yards for a touchdown to help put the Tigers up 20-14. Guthrie threw his only touchdown pass of the day on a 34-yard wheel route to Conner Salmons with 3 minutes remaining in the first half.
Plattsburg scored the first 20 points of the second half with a big dose of pounding runs from Hicks on a worn-down defense.
“It’s like watching a mountain run at you,” said Salmons, a senior linebacker. “The only way to get a guy like that (down) is to hit him low. Not only is he big, but he’s shifty. He’s got good feet and he could move around us pretty good.”
Salmons picked up an injury on Plattsburg’s final scoring play when Hicks bounced off of would-be tacklers, including a last-ditch effort from safety Justin Rhodes, who jumped on top of the senior running back while Salmons and junior linebacker Dalton
Larison tried to hold him low before the quartet fell into the end zone together.
“It’s tough, especially when he’s chunking yards off at you,” Danneman said. “We hit him two or three times; we fall off. Just wrapping up, it goes back to fundamentals. This game is three things – running, tackling and blocking; if you don’t do all three, you’re going to have problems.”
Plattsburg (5-3) now takes the top spot in the Class 1 District 7 rankings and the right to host throughout the district playoff. West Platte lost any hope of a split KCI Conference crown with the loss. A win would have preserved the hope of a Hamilton upset of Class 2 No. 4 team East Buchanan — the Bluejays’ first loss of the season — in the regular season’s final week. A Hornets win could have helped forge a three-way split of the title. Hamilton 59, North Platte 6 Kellen Overstreet added more serious numbers to his already gaudy totals in a dominating performance last Friday at North Platte High School in Dearborn, Mo.
The senior and University of Wyoming commit tallied 191 yards on 17 carries. He now sits at No. 2 on the national rushing yardage leader board with 2,283 yards so far this year.
Overstreet also scored five rushing touchdowns to bring his career total to 105 scores on the ground. He is chasing the career rushing touchdowns mark of 125, set by Archie’s Brad Hocker from 1988-1991. Every score adds to the career total touchdowns record he already holds, now at 141 throughout his career at JC Penney High School.
Hamilton scored the game’s first 59 points before a consolation touchdown for North Platte on a pass from quarterback Anthony Hernandez to running back Kyle Bledsoe from 40 yards out provided the final score.