Andrew Hernandez had a career day, but North Platte still came up short in a 26-24 loss to Hamilton on Friday, Oct. 20 in Dearborn.
He accounted for all four touchdown for the Panthers and ran for 261 yards on 16 carries.
Sawyer Morrow got the Hornets (6-3, 4-3 KCI) on the board first with a 6-yard run in the second quarter.
Down 8-0, Hernandez ran for a 38-yard touchdown to pull the Panthers (2-7, 2-5) within two points. He added a 95-yard touchdown run to give the Panthers a 12-8 lead. Right before halftime, the Hornets got a 12-yard run by Corbin Henderson to make it 14-12.
Hamilton extended its lead when Ryan Cook returned the kickoff for a touchdown, making it 20-12. Hernandez ran in a 54-yard touchdown to pull the Panthers within 20-18. In the fourth quarter, he picked up a fumble recovery and ran it back 70 yards.
North Platte led 24-20, but the Hornets took the lead when Cook hit Connor Kavanaugh for the game-winning touchdown.
Joel Smyser had a team-high 11 tackles for North Platte, while Caleb Hodge had 10 tackles. Chance Chesnut had nine tackles and two forced fumbles, while Zach Beatty broke up three passes.
The Panthers got the benefit of a MSHSAA flip, moving from the No. 6 seed to the No. 5 seed in the Class 1 District 8 standings. North Platte had 23.56 points, but thanks to a head-to-head win against Plattsburg (26.56 points) moved up and will play at Bishop LeBlond on Friday, Oct. 26.
The Golden Eagles are the No. 4 seed despite having an 0-9 record, but are in the Midland Em-pire Conference, playing mainly Class 3 and 4 schools, which boosts its strength of schedule. The Tony Dudik-led squad has gotten better as the year has gone on, falling 37-35 to Cameron last week and 40-33 to Chillicothe the week before. However, twice this season the Golden Eagles have ceded 80-plus points – 83 vs. Savannah and 82 vs. Maryville.