West Platte football runs roughshod in district opener

West Platte actually trailed early in its Class 1 District 7 first round matchup. Hard to tell looking at the score of the 68-21 win against Concordia on Friday, Oct. 23 at Rudolph Eskridge Stadium in Weston, Mo. The Bluejays scored 43 points in the first quarter and 25 more in the second before a scoreless second half of running clock action.

Eight of 12 rushing attempts for quarterback Brett Shepardson and running backs Justin Rhodes and Kyle Tabaka — West Platte’s main three offensive weapons — went for touchdowns. Concordia led 7-0 on the first of two touchdown passes from quarterback Tate Bittiker to Jordan Schlueter.

Tabaka and Shepardson accounted for the next two scores along with a pair of two-point runs for Rhodes to go up for good at 16-7.

The second touchdown connection between the Orioles’ two best offensive players plus a two-point pass made it 16-15, but West Platte put up 20 unanswered then closed the first half with 32 more in a row. Rhodes scored three touchdowns total on runs of 45, 47 and 65 on his way to a team-high 156 yards on just five carries.

Tabaka added 117 on three attempts, including touchdown runs of 68 and 45.

Shepardson, who did not attempt a pass, went for 90 yards on four tries with touchdowns of 5, 44 and 46 yards. He added a 27-yard interception return following his final touchdown run to put the Bluejays up 56-21. Rhodes followed with his 65-yarder, and backup running back Gavin Davis added a 68-yarder to close the scoring.

Concordia (3-7), the No. 7 seed in the eight-team field, committed five turnovers total with West Platte cornerback Brayan Rodriguez nabbing a pair of interceptions. Rhodes and Cameron Johnson recovered fumbles for the second-seeded Bluejays.

Losers in three of the final four games of the regular season, West Platte (4-6) advances to the district semifinal for a rematch with Mid-Buchanan (5-5), the No. 3 seed that topped No. 6 Lone Jack 49-12 last week to advance. In the previous matchup with Mid-Buchanan, West Platte scored 34 unanswered points in a 48-12 romp in Weston, Mo. Shepardson ran for touchdowns of 74 and 9 yards in the first half and finished with a team-high 152 yards on the ground overall.

Two of Shepardson’s three completions also went for a scores — a 58-yarder to Rhodes and a 64-yard play to wide receiver Alec Carson.