SMITHVILLE, Mo. — Chandler Peterson stood over the free kick from 26 yards out, looked at Kearney’s three-man wall alignment and figured the shot would go in the net. When you’ve scored as many goals as Platte County’s senior forward, you tend to have a good idea.
Peterson buried the shot for a key equalizing goal in the 14th minute of a Class 3 District 16 semifinal with Kearney on Monday, Oct. 23 at Smithville High School. His work was from done in Platte County’s adventurous 6-4 victory, adding another equalizer and two go-ahead scores in a four-goal, one-assist performance in a game where the Pirates trailed three times.
The first goal set a new single-season state record, and Peterson’s mark sat at 76 after the game, breaking the mark of 72 he entered the game sharing with St. Pius X’s Eric Ooton (2005).
“We came into this game soft. We weren’t expecting a game like that,” said Peterson, who now has 177 goals in his career and needs five more to tie the career state record of 182 Aaron Froehlich of Rolla set from 2010 to 2013. “In the second half, we finally woke up, and things started clicking.”
Platte County (18-9) kept its season — and vicariously Peterson’s record goal chase — alive to earn a coveted rematch and a shot at a third district title in four years. The Pirates beat Kearney for a third time this season but had allowed just one goal total in the first two wins during an undefeated run to the Suburban Conference Blue Division title.
This time around, Kearney held leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2, and the Bulldogs came back to force a tie at 4-4 after Peterson completed his hat trick.
Platte County played without sophomore defender Grant Allen (out since last month with a hip injury) and junior midfielder Blake Cochran (broken arm suffered last week). Kearney took advantage of big holes in the midfield to make long runs at the defense on three of the four goals.
“(Kearney) came out stronger, ready to go,” said Platte County coach Ashlyn Brantley, who saw her Pirates score exactly six against Kearney for the third time this season. “We got caught on our heels. We made mistakes in the midfield and at the back. It cost us a couple of goals, and we were reacting to those goals, especially in the first half, instead of motivating ourselves.”
After Kearney scored against the run of play in the eighth minute, Platte County leveled for the first of four ties off of a corner kick.
Tanner Ride, a junior forward filling in as a starter in midfield, fired a left-footed shot in the box. A defensive deflection dropped the ball in front of sophomore defender Carter Hays, who calmly finished with his left foot to make it 1-1 in the 11th minute.
The tie lasted less than a minute with Kearney taking a 2-1 lead in the same minute.
Peterson’s history came three minutes later after he drew a foul 8 yards outside of the box on the left-hand side. After needing a few attempts to place the ball on a windy day, Peterson curled the right-footed shot around the three-man wall and into the lower right-hand corner.
Always stoic, Peterson smiled a bit in celebration after tying the score at 2-2.
“Before the free kick, I saw where the goalie was lined up,” Peterson said. “He was hugging the post pretty hard. I was pretty positive it was going to go in.”
The tie lasted until after halftime despite more chances for Platte County while playing with the stiff wind in the first half.
Chase Peterson — sophomore brother of Peterson — fired just wide in the 32nd minute, and a miscue from Kearney senior goalkeeper Zachary Hammond led to an open goal in the 37th minute. Chandler Peterson watched the ball bounce over his head, collected and took a shot, which a Kearney defender cleared off the line.
In the end, Chandler Peterson wouldn’t be done scoring, but neither was Kearney.
Kearney struck with another long run and solid shot in the 43rd minute, but seconds later, Chandler Peterson tied the score 3-3. Kearney wouldn’t lead again, and Chase Peterson used a nifty short pass to spring older brother open for his 75th goal of the season in the 45th minute.
“I mean we argue on the field and all, but when it comes to play, we just have to communicate and keep each other’s heads together,” Chase Peterson said. “We have that chemistry.”
Kearney tied the score again in the 56th minute, but Chandler Peterson needed just two minutes to put Platte County up for good.
In the 58th minute, Chandler Peterson headed a Chase Peterson corner kick on goal. Hammond made the initial save, but Chandler Peterson stuck home the rebound to make it 5-4. The final goal came in the 68th minute when Chandler Peterson opened up space in the box and laid off a pass.
From 21 yards out on the right, Chase Peterson neatly hit a right-footed shot one time, sending the ball into the lower left corner.
“When I saw who was at the top of the box, I was pretty sure a goal was coming,” Chandler Peterson said of his brother. “I trust him with a lot of things, and soccer is one of them.”
While Kearney had the biggest offensive day against Platte County in a month, the Pirates’ goalkeeping tandem did plenty of work. Turner Hess — the senior — made a pair of saves in the first half, while junior Kemper York notched five in the 40 minutes Kearney played with the wind.
York turned one blistering shot right at him over the bar early in the second half and went fell stretch to his left on two others.
“It could’ve gotten worse,” Brantley said. “(York) has come through all season on great saves, and we’re happy to have him back there. Again, those shots shouldn’t happen, and he shouldn’t be in those situations. But he did a great job.”
Platte County moves on to face nemesis Smithville in an interesting rematch.
In the regular season, Smithville won 3-2 in a match the Warriors didn’t lead until converting a controversial penalty kick in the final minute of the second overtime with a shootout looming. They earned the No. 1 seed with the win and advanced with a tidy 7-0 victory against St. Joseph Lafayette on Monday night.
Platte County will be looking for revenge and a third berth in Class 3 sectionals since 2014, having lost in the playoffs’ first round in 2014 and 2016.
Platte County 7, Winnetonka 0
York and Hess combined on a shutout, leaving the Pirates unbeaten in Suburban Conference Blue Division play.
Chandler Peterson scored five times, leaving him tied with the state record after the matchup Thursday, Oct. 19 in Kansas City, Mo. Colton Grisham scored Platte County’s opener in the eighth minute on a pass from Chase Peterson, and Chandler Peterson’s first two goals — the second on an assist from sophomore Kyle Bean — made it 3-0 at halftime.
Chandler Peterson completed his hat trick in the first minute after halftime on the first of two assists for senior Spencer Klopfer. Caleb Smith made it 5-0 in the 44th minute for the Pirates, and Chandler Peterson finished his night with goals in the 46th and 63rd minutes before exiting.
Platte County finished unbeaten in Blue Division play for the first time in program history, recording eight total shutouts (six straight) during the 10-win campaign.
“I think the team has worked very well together this season, especially in these conference games,” Brantley said. “I believe they can see and understand the amount potential and talent they have and how much further they can go when they work together.”
Platte County 3, Belton 0
Chandler Peterson scored twice after halftime in a shutout win Wednesday, Oct. 18 at Pirate Stadium.
Tanner Ride’s first half goal on an assist from Chase Peterson left Platte County with a 1-0 lead for the next 45 minutes. Chandler Peterson’s first in the 49th minute made it 2-0, and he added a second with 13 minutes left in regulation on an assist from senior defender Cole
Hess (two saves) and York (one save) held the shutout for Platte County.
North Kansas City 3, Platte County 1
The Hornets took a nonconference win Tuesday, Oct. 17 in North Kansas City, Mo.
Chandler Peterson scored Platte County’s lone goal in the 25th minute. Hess made three saves in the first half, while York had one.