Even when he wants to forget, Chandler Peterson can’t get away from the talk.
Everyone wants to know about the Platte County senior forward's goal-scoring exploits, so he understood what was at stake Monday, Sept. 18 at Pirate Stadium. He scored twice in the first half of a 6-1 victory over Kearney — first tying and then breaking Ian Malburg’s program record for career goals scored.
Malburg finished his career in 2004 with 135, and Peterson ended the game with 136.
“Everyone knows I’m the goal-scorer,” Peterson said. “I have a lot of pressure on my back. I’m slowing down a little, but it will pick back up.
“I’m ahead of schedule.”
Peterson looked poised for a second big game in a week against Kearney with his fast start, instead ending up disappointed with scoring just two.
In the fifth minute, Peterson took a pass and sprinted down the left sideline before beating Kearney goalkeeper Zach Hammond from a tight angle at the near post. The 1-0 lead came against the early run of play with the Bulldogs having pushed for the opener.
Peterson made it 2-0 in the 14th minute when senior midfielder Spencer Klopfer sent a through ball in between two Kearney defenders. Peterson finished one-on-one past Hammond for the record-setting goal.
There was no major celebration, but the public address announcer did acknowledge the milestone with the crowd giving polite applause.
“Something was accomplished there, but there’ll be another record,” Peterson said.
Platte County’s lead reached 4-0 by halftime, but Peterson didn’t factor in either goal.
In the 19th minute, Pirates sophomore defender Grant Allen looped a cross into the far post that found sophomore defender Carter Hays unmarked. He blasted a header into the net for his first goal of the season.
Hays poked in a loose ball for a second in the 39th minute.
In the second half, Platte County sophomore Tanner Ride moved into the striker spot and scored in the 71st minute and 77th minute. He hit a tap-in on the first after junior midfielder Blake Cochran traversed the end line before sending in a cross, and the Pirates’ final goal came on a scramble with the assist going to sophomore midfielder Chase Peterson.
Platte County’s goals have been more spread out in recent games with the attack learning to become less reliant on Chandler Peterson.
“I think we’ve been moving the ball very well,” Platte County coach Ashlyn Brantley said. “I think early on last year it was just, ‘Go long; go long; go long to Chandler.’ I think this year we still look to go to him, but it’s not as rushed and dependent on him.
“We tell them all the time, we need all of them to play to be successful as a team.”
Platte County struggled at times in both halves to maintain possession.
Kearney forced Platte County senior goalkeeper Turner Hess into five first half saves in addition to a few close calls on dangerous free kicks. Continuing the two-man rotation in goal, junior Kemper York made five saves in the second half, while also allowing a goal.
Hess also came in for one more save in the second half when a collision briefly forced York to come off the pitch injured.
Kearney broke through against York in in the 55th minute when Kian Hayes fired in a long-range effort from 30 yards out. Platte County has allowed goals in five games during a 10-1 start to the season, and some have been bunched including three in a win over Oak Park, five in a loss to Liberty North and four in a 5-4 overtime win over Raytown South four days ahead of the matchup with Kearney.
Platte County’s remade defense with senior Cole Wedekind and Hays in the middle tries to balance inviting pressure to help set Chandler Peterson up with counterattacks and staying disciplined.
“The whole team does it, watches him,” Wedekind said. “Sometimes it’s kind of challenging to keep an eye on him because we’re using communication and teamwork to concentrate on our jobs.”
In addition to breaking Malburg’s record, Peterson moved into a tie for third place in state history for career goals against Kearney. He added four more in a 7-0 win over Grandview on Tuesday, Sept. 19, giving him 39 on the season, moving him past Christian Brothers’ John Pisani (1963-66) and into sole possession of second in state history with 140 career goals.
Peterson enters a tough stretch of games including home vs. Liberty and Smithville and Park Hill South’s Panther Classic looking to keep up his record pace.
However, Platte County also has more games against vulnerable opponents where Peterson could thrive. Brantley continues to encourage his offensive creativityr while also taking him out late in games for rest and to avoid injury, as she did with 14 minutes left in the win over Kearney.
Peterson exited without a hat trick for just the second time this season, having scrubbed a pair of one-time opportunities after scoring his two goals.
“I’m going to let him play like he’s normally going to play,” she said. “I don’t look at it as limiting him. It’s just giving time to other guys who haven’t gotten time or rest, giving him rest and recovery.”
Peterson has averaged 3.54 goals per game in Platte County’s first 11, putting him within reach of some amazing marks. The state record for goals per game is 2.75, and he averaged 2.35 — fourth best rate in Missouri history last year — on the way to 61 goals as a junior, the third best season total in Missouri history.
At the current pace, Peterson would score 92 goals in 26 games — the amount the Pirates played in a Class 3 District 16 championship run in 2016. That would shatter the Missouri single season record of 72 St. Pius X’s Eric Ooton set in 2005.
Peterson needs 82 goals on the season to pass Aaron Froehlich of Rolla’s career record of 182 set in 2013 — a mark well within reach at nearly the season’s halfway point.
The next set of records seems a long ways off, but people will talk. Peterson’s family, friends and even teammates will be watching the pursuit.
“It’s an honor (to play with him). I want to see where he ends up,” Wedekind said.
Platte County 6, Kearney 0
Peterson completed a hat trick in the closing seconds, finishing off the second Blue Division win of the season Tuesday, Sept. 12 in Kearney, Mo.
Chase Peterson, a sophomore and Chandler’s younger brother, scored twice for Platte County. His marker in the 16th minute doubled the lead and put the Pirates up 2-0 at halftime.
In the 48th minute, Chandler Peterson added his second, and Chase Peterson finished his brace eight minutes later. Klopfer struck for Platte County’s fifth goal, and Chandler Peterson finished his hat trick in the 69th minute.
Colton Grisham and Chandler Peterson had assists.