The opening drive for North Platte showed some promise for a team struggling to get traction in the tough KCI Conference.
Facing East Buchanan, ranked No. 4 in Class 1 and at one point ranked No. 1 in the state, the Panthers got the ball first and started to churn out yards on a muddy field in Gower, Mo.
The drive fizzled and the Panthers turned the ball over at the 10-yard line. That was the first of three trips to the red zone where the Panthers didn’t score and that opened the door for the Bulldogs (7-1) to pull away for a 32-8 victory on Friday, Oct. 12.
The game was scoreless after the first 12 minutes, but three touchdown passes from Tyler Schottel gave the Bulldogs a 20-0 lead at the break. He had scoring passes of 24 yards to Tucker White, 16 to Tristin Smith and 37 to Remle Johnson.
Johnson had touchdown catches of 16 and 51 yards in the second half. Schottel passed for 307 yards in the win.
Andrew Hernandez had a 65-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and he ran in the conversion as well for the Panthers (2-6). He ran for 145 yards on 22 carries.
Caine Huffman had 10 tackles, while Chase Chesnut had two sacks and a forced fumble for North Platte. Zach Beatty hauled in an interception as well.
The task doesn’t get any easier for the Panthers as the season wraps up with a home game against Hamilton, a team that has been ranked for the first seven weeks of the season.
The Hornets aren’t the same without the likes of LaTroy Harper or Kellen Overstreet around, but all three of the losses this year for Hamilton have came against state ranked teams: Lathrop, Lawson and East Buchanan.