Lathrop scored on its very first play from scrimmage Friday, Sept. 22, and the Mules were in control the rest of the way.
North Platte committed four turnovers in a 45-0 loss in Lathrop, Mo. a week after the Panthers turned in their best performance of the season. They dropped to 2-2 in KCI Conference play with a two-game winning streak snapped.
Lathrop (5-1) — receiving votes in the most recent Class 2 Missouri media poll — entered off of a 7-2 loss to Lawson and took out its frustrations.
After forcing a quick punt, the Mules scored with 10 minutes, 51 seconds left in the first quarter. They put up touchdowns on each of the first two drives, then added a field goal and a third long touchdown run early in the second quarter to make it 24-0.
The backbreaking play came when North Platte sophomore Andrew Hernandez — making his third straight start at quarterback — threw an interception returned for a 70-yard touchdown with 1:38 left in the half.
Hernandez finished 6-for-19 for 66 yards with three interceptions.
North Platte ran for just 64 yards. Remington Wilson, a senior running back, led the ball carriers with 34 yards on 11 attempts while Hernandez gained 31 on 15 carries. Hunter Hendricks, a junior, hauled in four passes for 49 yards in his second straight standout performance for the Panthers, while Corbin Green had one grab for 31 yards when senior Austin Snook — the starter at QB the first three weeks — threw his only pass.
Lathrop’s running game racked up big chunks of yardage, and Wilson led North Platte’s defense with nine tackles and a forced fumble from his linebacker spot. Snook recorded a sack, while Green and Joel Smyser recovered fumbles.
North Platte (2-4) entered off of wins over Mid-Buchanan (35-32) and West Platte (33-14) — two conference and Class 1 District 7 victories. The Panthers remained at No. 4 in the district standings while set to face East Buchanan (5-1), Hamilton (5-1) and Plattsburg (3-3) in the final three weeks of the regular season.
East Buchanan, which travels to North Platte on Friday, Sept. 29, currently leads the KCI with a 4-0 record.