North Platte found the answer at the right time to win the KCI Conference opener.
After falling behind early, Mid-Buchanan stormed back in its homecoming game Friday, Sept. 1 in Faucett, Mo., but the Panthers scored twice late to take a nine-point lead. They recovered an onside kick with 4 seconds left to secure a 35-32 victory in a back-and-forth battle between winless teams desperate for a breakthrough.
North Platte senior running back Remington Wilson ran for a career-high 133 yards in the first 100-yard performance of his career, while senior Austin Snook and sophomore Andrew Hernandez again split time at quarterback. Wilson ran for a touchdown, while both quarterbacks threw for a score.
Snook’s 1-yard-touchdown run in the first quarter, and a 20-yard scoring pass he threw to Ty French put North Platte up 14-0 midway through the second quarter. Wilson scored from 2 yards out with 58 seconds left before halftime to provide a quick response to Mid-Buchanan’s first score.
Up 20-6 and headed toward halftime, North Platte then gave up a late touchdown pass and two-point conversion, allowing Mid-Buchanan to close within six points at the break.
Mid-Buchanan then scored the first two touchdowns of the second half and went into the fourth quarter up 26-20. North Platte found another spark with Hernandez completing his only pass for a 45-yard touchdown to senior wide receiver Corbin Green.
Wilson’s two-point run put North Platte up 28-26, and the Panthers didn’t trail again.
Hernandez, who also caught two passes for 55 yards at receiver, capped North Platte’s scoring with a 26-yard touchdown run, and an extra point made it 35-26 — a two-possession game — with 1:19 to go. Mid-Buchanan scored with 5 seconds left, failed on a two-point try and couldn’t recover the onside kick while looking for a miracle comeback.
Snook went 4 of 8 for 91 yards, and North Platte overcame three lost fumbles. The Panthers improved to 1-2 and snapped a four-game losing skid in KCI play dating back to last year’s win over West Platte.
North Platte went 0-2 in nonconference play this season, and the win still leaves the Panthers at No. 6 in the current Class 1 District 7 standings — one spot in front of Mid-Buchanan (0-3).
In the first two games of the season, North Platte was outscored 80-13, including a 38-0 shutout loss to Princeton the week before. Wilson (18 tackles) and Hernandez (10 tackles) led the Panthers defense, while Snook, Wilson, senior Van French and junior Chase Chesnut recorded one sack apiece.
Green had an interception, and junior Hunter Hendricks blocked a field goal try.
North Platte hosts struggling Lawson (1-2) on Friday, Sept. 8 before a trip to West Platte on Sept. 15 in a key matchup in terms of rivalry and Class 1 District 7 positioning. The Panthers lost their final five games after beating West Platte last year with the streak hitting seven straight in 2017 before ending it with their first win over Mid-Buchanan since 2014.