DEARBORN, Mo. — For a short period of time, North Platte showed the spirit needed to produce a comeback.
In the end, Plattsburg built a big enough lead and pulled away again for a 49-13 win in the KCI Conference and regular season finale for both teams on Friday, Oct. 13 at North Platte High School. North Platte finished the regular season at 2-7 overall and 2-5 in league play, but the Panthers enter Class 1 District 7 play as a disappointing No. 6 seed while on a four-game losing streak.
A pair of touchdowns briefly cut Plattsburg’s lead to 28-13 before the Tigers added three late touchdowns in the second half of a postseason preview.
“The boys know they can compete and didn’t give up,” North Platte coach Josh Rodriguez said. “Going into halftime, we were a little frustrated by allowing Plattsburg to bust a couple long plays and having a good start to the second half gave a huge boost to the team confidence going into the rematch this week.”
Indeed, North Platte dropped from No. 4 in the Class 1 District 7 standings to No. 6 — putting the Panthers opposite of third-seeded Plattsburg (5-4). The two teams will meet again Friday, Oct. 20 in Plattsburg, Mo.
North Platte ended up needing a win to have a chance to host a playoff game.
Plattsburg increased the difficulty of that task with four touchdowns in the first half to take a 28-0 lead into the break. The scores included a 34-yard pass play and touchdown runs of 55 and 45 yards for Matthew Graham.
North Platte sophomore quarterback Andrew Hernandez threw touchdowns passes of 33 and 9 yards to senior Corbin Green in the third quarter to slice into the deficit.
Plattsburg answered back with three more touchdowns against a worn out defense to end up with a running clock late. North Platte senior Remington Wilson ended up with a team-high 12 tackles to go with a team-leading 55 yards rushing on 13 carries from his running back spot.
Hernandez threw for 161 yards but completed just 12 of 31 attempts. Green had a team-high five catches for 47 yards, while senior Austin Snook — a tight end converted from quarterback — had 67 yards receiving on four catches.
The slow start plus a pair of interceptions turned out to be too much for North Platte to overcome despite the second half push.
“There is a lot of positive to take from this game,” Rodriguez said. “I felt we moved the ball effectively at times, and defensively, we just have to limit their big plays, mainly keeping our assignments.”
Before the game, North Platte honored seven seniors who were sophomores when North Platte made a run to the Class 1 District 7 title game in 2015. The Panthers were 2-8 a year go with a loss in the opening round to second-seeded East Buchanan, and they’ll hope to spring at least one upset in the postseason for a dedicated class that also includes WR/DB Will Morse, OL/DL Van French, OL/DL Bart Owens and WR/CB Christian Katchur.
Adding a postseason win could help this group add one final highlight to a disappointing season.
“This is such a great group of young men,” Rodriguez said. “The win-loss results haven’t been what we have wanted but they are definitely champions of character, work ethic and leadership. They all have been great role models to our underclassmen and youth. Their legacy will be that of how young men should carry themselves, work and how to be good men.”