SMITHVILLE, Mo. — Any competitive rivalry tends to level out over time.
This time around, Platte County’s players experienced increasing frustrations during the Class 3 District 16 championship game. Smithville scored twice early and eventually rolled to a 4-0 win on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at Smithville High School.
The frequent rivals have now split the past four district championships, but this loss brought an end to Platte County’s season at 18-7 and to the storied career of senior star Chandler Peterson. In four years, he scored 177 goals — a career total that ranks second in Missouri history — but went scoreless in his final game, finishing his senior campaign with a state single season record of 76.
Against Smithville, Platte County clearly missed the presence and speed of junior midfielder and winger Blake Cochran, who suffered a season-ending broken arm in the final week of the regular season.
“We came out … I don’t even know. Just no motivation,” Peterson said after the game. “We weren’t at full strength, but we should’ve played as good as we would have if we were.”
Smithville swept the season series in the rivalry with a more dominant effort the second time around.
A 3-2 overtime win in the regular season required a controversial penalty kick in the final minute of extra time with a shootout looming. In the rematch, the Warriors scored the opener in the 12th minute off of a Platte County turnover deep in its own end and doubled the advantage to 2-0 just three minutes later on Charlie Tietjens’ emphatic header into the top right corner off of a corner kick.
Platte County trailed by one goal three times in its district opener against Kearney before coming back for a 6-4 victory. Smithville limited the Pirates’ opportunities from start to finish, leaving them a step behind and just a tick off while trying to find their normal scoring form.
“We wouldn’t want to be (down 2-0), but I know my head wasn’t down and the team’s shouldn’t have been because we’ve been in that situation,” Platte County coach Ashlyn Brantley said. “It wasn’t like I didn’t believe we could come back. They got up 2-0, but in soccer, that’s a dangerous score.”
Platte County didn’t put a shot on target until the 27th minute, and Peterson almost singlehandedly did the work.
A long ball allowed him to slip just behind the defense, but a deflection on his right-footed shot helped Smithville goalkeeper Jace Robinson to easily parry the ball out for a corner kick. The Warriors nearly took a three-goal lead into halftime, but senior midfielder Everett Pautvien turned a one-time shot at the near post just wide in the closing seconds.
Clearly frustrated at break, Platte County’s players mounted their best challenge early in the second half.
Peterson fired just wide in the 44th minute on probably the clearest scoring opportunity of the game for the Pirates. He had two more shots in the 48th minute, including an outside-of-the-foot effort Robinson came up to deny.
“That’s frustrating, and I think you could see that as a couple of those didn’t go in,” Brantley said. “We came out strong (in the second half), but again, we have to be consistent with that. That’s been a struggle this season, being consistent with that type of play.
“Yeah, we created those chances, but we needed to get one in to get us going.”
Hopes of a comeback were all but ended in the 63rd minute when a hard foul inside the 18-yard box led to a penalty kick.
Tietjens, who scored the game-winner in the regular season matchup, calmly buried the shot to the low right past Platte County junior goalkeeper Kemper York to make it 3-0. Two minutes later, a free kick from about 35 yards out led to an easy backpost goal for Smithville senior defender Nick Bollinger.
Peterson committed a hard shoving foul late in the game with emotions spilling out, and he exited the field with 4 minutes left in just his third scoreless outing in 25 games this season.
“This year, (Smithville) knew what we did,” Peterson said. “I wouldn’t say they got lucky the first game, but they knew what was coming this time. They played well.”
After scoring a school record 63 goals as a junior, Peterson opened this season at a blistering pace and passed Ian Malburg’s career record of 135 early. He broke his own single season school record late in the year and passed the Missouri state record of 72 Eric Ooton of St. Pius X set in 2005 with his four goals in the district semifinal win over Kearney.
Peterson finished his senior season with 3.04 goals per game — smashing the previous Missouri state record — and his 1.75 goals per game for his career ranks second. The 76 goals this year tie him for sixth in the National Federation of High School Associations record book with current Sporting Kansas City striker Soony Saad, and the 177 career goals rank tied for seventh most for any American high school player.
While the records will live on, Peterson left the field disappointed not to celebrate a third district championship in four years for Platte County, which lost in Class 3 sectionals in 2014 and 2016.
“My four years, we accomplished a ton,” Peterson said. “There were a lot of goals, but everything with the team is worth more.”
Platte County’s varsity roster included five seniors — four full-time starters. Peterson, midfielder Spencer Klopfer, goalkeeper Turner Hess and defenders Cole Wedekind and Macaulay Koontz were part of 68 wins during the past four years, and 18 this year marked the highest win total for the Pirates during at least the past decade.