Platte County won’t have many holes to fill, but the biggest ones left from last year’s eight-man senior class will be in big spots.
Coming off a second playoff appearance in three years, the Pirates have one of the most prolific goal-scorers in state history back for a potentially historic senior season. They just need to figure out how to supply forward Chandler Peterson with support after the loss of midfielder Mason Hays (eight goals and 16 assists).
In addition, Zach Rolofson (central defender) and Bailey Ride (goalkeeper) were instrumental for a defense that played well in a 17-9 season.
Peterson led 13 players for Platte County on the All-Suburban Conference Blue Division teams.
Named the Missouri State High School Soccer Coaches Association All-Kansas City Region co-player of the year, Peterson scored a school-record 61 goals in 2016, moving past Ian Malburg’s mark of 43. Peterson more than doubled his previous career total for goals and comes into theseason with 91 total, ranking only behind Malburg’s career total of 135.
Peterson’s two goals in a season-ending 3-2 loss to KC East in a Class 3 sectional broke a tie with former Kickapoo star and current Major League Soccer player Jack Jewsbury for third in state history in a single season. He averaged 2.35 goals per game, a mark that ranks fourth in state history for a single season.
Now a two-time all-state pick, Peterson will rely on returning midfielders Blake Cochran, Colton Grisham and Hans Thyssen — all juniors — along with senior Spencer Klopfer to provide support from the midfield. Platte County coach Ashlyn Brantley also expects sophomores Grant Allen and Avery Hogan to step into a larger role in a deep group of talented midfielders.
“We’ve got to be creative,” Brantley said. “We can’t put everything on (Peterson). I don’t think that’s fair as a team, as a coach or a player to put that all on him. We need to make sure our other guys are supporting and giving him options when he does have the ball.”
Carter Hays, a sophomore, likely shifts into central defense to take Rolofson’s vacated spot next to senior Cole Wedekind, a first team All-Blue Division performer last year. Conor Hunt, a junior, could return to a fullback position with other young players expected to vie for the spot on the opposite side of the field.
“In the back, we’ve just got to get them a little reorganized and used to playing with each other,” Brantley said. “And we’ve got to fill that hole in the middle.”
While Ride started for three years, senior Turner Hess and junior Kemper York both boast prior experience and will likely split time at goalkeeper, keeping with Brantley’s historic usage patterns. Ride was Blue Division goalkeeper of the year in 2016.