Chandler Peterson started to hear the talk, so he couldn’t deny knowledge of his record-breaking performance Thursday, Oct. 13 at Pirate Stadium.
With a four-goal performance in a 5-1 win against Grandview, the Platte County junior midfielder set the record for most goals scored in a single season, breaking a 12-year-old mark. All four came in the first half, and the Pirates didn’t score again in the second half.
With the record approaching, Peterson vowed not to let talk of overtaking Ian Malburg’s mark of 43 goals set in 2004.
“It was a great feeling honestly,” said Peterson, who now has 44 goals on the season entering a Tuesday, Oct. 18 matchup with North Kansas City. “I really just play, but people were telling me all the time that I was getting closer and closer but tonight was the night.”
Peterson also assisted on the fifth goal for Platte County (13-7), which extended its win streak to three — all in Suburban Conference Blue Division play.
The four goals for the Pirates leading scorer came in bunches, two early and two late in the first half. After Grandview closed within 3-1, Peterson quickly answered with his 43rd goal of the season on a pass from sophomore Conor Hunt, who made a long run toward the box before laying off to Peterson.
Just before halftime, Peterson avoided any lingering pressure of breaking Malburg’s record by scoring his fourth of the game and 44th of the season. Noah Pasch played a long ball over the top, and Peterson finished to set the record.
“It’s awesome,” Platte County coach Ashlyn Brantley said. “It’s a milestone; it’s definitely something he is going to remember. We’ll remember that he was an awesome player, and he definitely deserves it.”
Grandview’s lone goal came on a penalty kick, and Bailey Ride and Turner Hess kept the Bulldogs off the board in the run of play.
Platte County has won six of its past eight overall with the only two losses against Class 4 foes in the Panther Classic at Park Hill South. The only loss in Blue Division play came earlier this season against Belton, one of two remaining conference games left in the regular season.
Blue Division foes have scored nine in eight games against Platte County with three of them in the 3-2 loss to Belton, which overcame a late 2-1 deficit to steal the win.
“Early on we were having trouble playing both halves, and I think right now we’ve been showing up in both so definitely happy that’s happening towards the end of the season going into postseason play,” Brantley said. “Towards the middle of the season, we were looking a little inconsistent, but I think right now we’re starting to really get into our possession game and finally figured out what our strengths are and cater to our weaknesses so that we don’t put ourselves in those holes anymore.”
Platte County’s offense broke out early on the way to the season sweep of Grandview, which lost 3-0 in the first matchup.
Peterson scored early on a rebound and added a penalty kick in the 18th minute. In the 29th minute, Peterson chased a ball down on the end line before flicking it back to the center of the box for junior Spencer Klopfer, who converted the chance to make it 3-0 Pirates.
With the postseason approaching, Peterson remains the top target with senior Mason Hays continuing to develop in his move from defense to midfield. While Peterson scores more often than not, the focus on him allows other players to become involved when opposing defenses pay him too much attention and lose track of other players.
“We’ve been working on it,” Brantley said. “It starts in the back; we’re getting our defense into the attack which is creating that space that we need and then we have that speed up top looking for Chandler Peterson and Mason right there behind him so we’ve been able to connect and work the ball the way we want to.”
Peterson needs just seven goals in the remainder of the season to move into the top 10 in state history for a single season. He’s currently averaging 2.2 goals per game, a rate which would rank him sixth for a single season, just .01 in front of former Kickapoo star and current Major League Soccer midfielder Jack Jewsbury.
Behind Peterson’s scoring prowess, Platte County earned the No. 1 seed for the upcoming Class 3 District 16 tournament by virtue of a win against Smithville earlier in the season.
On Monday, Oct. 24, the Pirates will host St. Joseph Lafayette in the first round with the winner advancing to the title game on Wednesday, Oct. 26 — a potential rematch with Smithville, the defending champion. Platte County last went to the playoffs in 2015 with a win over Smithville.
Platte County 4, Kearney 2
Peterson came closer to the record in the second half of a previously suspended Blue Division matchup, finishing Wednesday, Oct. 12 at Pirate Stadium.
The two teams were tied at 1-1 at halftime of an early September game when inclement weather forced postponement of the second half. Platte County scored the first two goals in the second half — both from Peterson, his 39th and 40th on the season.
With the score 3-1, both teams scored in the final 10 minutes.
Platte County 2, Raytown South 0
The Pirates scored both goals Tuesday, Oct. 11 in Raytown, Mo. on the way to a shutout.
Peterson netted the first early, and Blake Cochran added the second just before halftime. Ride earned the clean sheet — the seventh on the season to that point for the Pirates.