North Platte, West Platte and Park Hill South each took part in jamborees throughout the area on Friday, Aug. 23.
North Platte headed to Oak Grove and battled Wellington-Napoleon, Polo and Central Academy of Excellence.
The Panthers beat Polo and Central Academy and losing 2-1 to Well-Nap, but both scores came against the JV defense.
“I thought we had a good performance overall on offense and defense,” said North Platte coach Reis Wright, who starts his second year at the helm officially on Friday, Aug. 30 at Gallatin. “I thought our blocking went well. We didn’t complete as many passes as we wanted, percentage wise, but we didn’t put the ball up a whole lot.
“I saw a bunch of kids ready to play on Friday. We are an older team but we have depth too. That is good.”
Facing Central Academy of Excellence first, the team ended with a shutout and got a fumble recovery by Dayne Caprenter on the final play.
Caine Huffman hauled in a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andrew Hernandez in the win against Central Academy.
Huffman had the lone score against Well-Nap with a 3-yard run. In a win against Polo, Aiden Williams had a 12-yard score.
The only negative for the Panthers was losing Blake Gibson. The senior wide receiver/cornerback got hurt, breaking his collarbone. He will miss four to six weeks, Wright said. It was unknown at press time if Gibson would need surgery for the injury that happened after going up for a pass and landing awkwardly.
Junior Matrix Large will move into the starting spot that Gibson had, while freshman Kaden Mollendore will move up to a backup role at cornerback. Wright was also weighing moving a running back to wide receiver for the time being.
“It can happen anytime,” Wright said, referencing Polo losing a player to a broken leg in the same jamboree.
The Panthers will open on the road this week against Gallatin in a KCI vs. Grand River Conference showdown.
West Platte took on Mid-Buchanan, Plattsburg and Gallatin at Rudolph Eskridge Stadium.
The Bluejays were very familiar with two of the foes — Mid-Buch and Plattsburg — having scrimmaged them a lot this summer.
“We came out healthy and did OK,” West Platte coach Paul Thomas said.
The Bluejays open at Lone Jack, looking to snap a 9-game losing streak that dates back to playing Lone Jack last year.
Park Hill South battled Belton and Grandview at Belton High School on Friday, Aug. 23.
With only three teams, the squad had to march 60 yards instead of 40 yards.
First-year coach Alan Wilmes liked what he saw, but mainly for the face the Panthers came out healthy.
Park Hill South scored on the final play against Grandview and was kept out of the end zone against Belton.
The team had a big play called back against Belton.
“We did move the ball well, I thought,” Wilmes said. “We ran the ball very well and ran good routes and made good throws. We were not as explosive as I wanted, but as far as efficiency, we moved the ball well.”
Wilmes also noted the defense got turnovers, a good thing to see heading into Week 1.
The Panthers travel to Ray-Pec to play a Class 6 school that features future Kansas wide receiver Luke Grimm.
“He is definitely a dude,” Wilmes said. “We have to make sure we limit his opportunity or at least get 11 hats on the ball and reduce big plays.”