Platte County sophomore Blake Cochran claims he always intended for his cross to find Chandler Peterson.
Truth is, the Pirates’ junior scoring phenom seems to always take care of the finishes, making his teammates’ efforts look good. Regardless of the actual plan, Peterson latched onto a long, bounding cross and buried a right-footed shot past St. Joseph Lafayette’s goalkeeper to complete an early hat trick in the first half of a 5-0 victory in a Class 3 District 16 matchup Monday, Oct. 24 at Pirate Stadium.
“Yes, it was (meant for him). Always, always look for No. 1 in the box. He’s so good,” said Cochran, who opened Platte County’s scoring before Peterson continued his assault on the state record book for goals scored in a season.
Peterson ended up with four goals — all in the first half for Platte County (16-8), slated to play Kearney in the District 16 championship game at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26.
With 57 goals in 24 games, Peterson currently ranks fourth in state history for goals in a season, two behind current Major League Soccer player and former Kickapoo High School standout Jack Jewsbury. Peterson also increased his goals per game total to 2.4, which would also rank fourth if the season ended today.
Peterson’s four goals gave Platte County a 5-0 lead, and Pirates coach Ashyln Brantley rested most of her top players for the entire second half. A backline led by senior Zach Rolofson and junior Cole Wedekind helped maintain the clean sheet despite a rocky start to the final 40 minutes.
Platte County junior goalkeeper Turner Hess made two saves in the final 16 minutes on the only two shots Lafayette put on target.
“I had no worries about putting those (starters) back out there. I have confidence in everyone,” Brantley said.
Platte County opened with a patient offense, and Cochran provided the breakthrough in the ninth minute on a cross from senior midfielder Mason Hays.
Peterson’s four goals came in a span of 20 minutes, starting with a solo effort in the 15th minute. He beat three defenders in the box before firing home.
Hays provided the assist on Peterson’s second in the 23rd minute, and the speedy forward added another in the following minute off of Cochran’s bounding cross. The ball skipped in the middle of the box before an unmarked Peterson latched on to the loose ball and nearly roofed the shot straight down the middle.
Despite finishing with four goals, Peterson forced a half dozen saves, coming close to more scores on a handful of occasions.
“(Peterson) puts himself in the right places,” Brantley said. “That’s just a credit to his knowledge of the game, knowing where to be. They know they want to find him, and if they can’t, he’ll work for it if he has to.”
Platte County enters the District 16 title game seeking a second playoff appearance in three years.
Kearney (10-9-2) beat Smithville in Monday’s other semifinal to reach the final. The Pirates won both regular season meetings with Kearney this season in Suburban Conference Blue Division play.
Platte County and Smithville had met in district play for at least seven straight seasons prior to this year.
Platte County 11, Winnetonka 1
Six different players scored for the Pirates in their Suburban Conference Blue Division finale Thursday, Oct. 20 at Pirate Stadium. They finished 8-2 overall and second in the standings.
Peterson tallied five of the goals and added an assist, while Noah Pasch also scored twice. Rolofson scored his first goal of the season and had an assist. Colton Grisham, Cochran and Tanner Ride were the other goalscorers, while Mason Hays and Carter Hays had an assist apiece.
Belton 5, Platte County 2
Belton pulled the season sweep and won the Blue Division title outright.
After a late comeback to win the first meeting, Belton scored early and pulled away late Wednesday, Oct. 19 in Belton, Mo. Peterson scored once midway through the first half, just seconds after Platte County went behind 2-0.
Belton scored once more before half to go up 3-1.
Platte County 4, North Kansas City 1
Peterson scored four goals Tuesday, Oct. 18 in a strong showing for the Pirates against a Class 4 foe at Pirate Stadium. Peterson also assisted on Cochran’s goal.