North Platte struggled to hold on to the ball, putting the defense in difficult spots during an elongated opener over the weekend.
Gallatin built a three-touchdown first half lead Friday, Aug. 19 and came back Saturday, Aug. 20 after a weather postponement to finish off a 42-6 win at North Platte High School in Dearborn, Mo. The Panthers committed five turnovers, including four lost fumbles, and didn’t score until the fourth quarter while up against a running clock.
North Platte held Gallatin’s running attack to just 3.9 yards per carry with linebackers Remington Wilson and Ben French collecting 15 tackles apiece, while Parker Rotterman added 11. French and Rotterman combined to force three fumbles with French recovering one.
The issue came in turnovers from the offense.
Just 2 minutes into the first quarter, Gallatin’s Grady Rains returned a fumble 6 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Wyatt Bird returned North Platte quarterback Austin Snook’s first interception thrown of the season 50 yards for another score and a 21-0 advantage.
When play resumed Saturday with North Platte down 21-0, the Panthers fumbled the kickoff leading to another score, and a third lost fumble led directly to another touchdown. Gallatin’s sixth touchdown also came off of a fumble recovery, giving the Bulldogs 35 points off of five turnovers.
North Platte’s fumble recovery came with no time left on the clock going into halftime.
In coach Josh Rodriguez’s second season, North Platte opens at 0-1 ahead of another nonconference matchup this Friday, Aug. 26 against Princeton, which lost its opener to Mid-Buchanan by a score of 40-6.
North Platte will need more offense to avoid an 0-2 start heading into KCI Conference play. The Panthers ran for just 39 yards, including 33 for Wilson and his late 6-yard touchdown run. Snook, a junior, posted his first start at quarterback and finished 6-for-13 for 74 yards with the one interception.
Will Morse caught three passes for 33 yards, while Rotterman’s lone reception went for 38 yards.
Following the matchup with Princeton, North Platte plays seven straight KCI games to close the regular season, starting with Mid-Buchanan in Week 3. Last year, the Panthers started 2-0, including a 2-0 win against Gallatin in the opener, on the way to a 5-7 finish.