West Platte football loses lead late, can't spring upset of Well-Nap

West Platte gave up the lead late and then came agonizingly close to taking it back in a relocated nonconference matchup.

Looking to remain unbeaten, the Bluejays allowed a late touchdown and answered with a march into the red zone against Wellington-Napoleon on Friday, Aug. 25 at Blue Springs South High School in Blue Springs, Mo. A late fumble gave possession back to the Tigers, who gained a first down to hold on for a dramatic 34-30 victory.

The game was originally scheduled to be played in Wellington, Mo. but was moved to a central location just hours before kickoff due to inclement field conditions.

Wellington-Napoleon (2-0) won the third straight in the series between the two in a matchup that featured four lead changes and two ties. The final exchange came in the waning minutes with West Platte senior running back Brayan Rodriguez scoring his second rushing touchdown and junior quarterback Noah Johnson adding a two-point run to put the Bluejays ahead 30-28 in the fourth quarter.

Wellington-Napoleon’s winning drive finished with 3 minutes, 42, seconds to play, and the Tigers sealed their win with their second fumble recovery of the game. West Platte didn’t force any turnovers.

West Platte (1-1), which entered off a strong showing Week 1 in a win over Lincoln Prep, led 6-0 on Rodriguez’s first touchdown run in the first quarter. Wellington-Napoleon scored the only other points in the first half and led 14-6 at the break.

The two teams then exchanged scores throughout the second half.

West Platte tied it 14-14 on Johnson’s 76-yard touchdown pass to running back Gavin Davis plus Johnson’s first two-point run. The Bluejays leveled the score again at 22-22 on a 49-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to senior wide receiver Grant Eagen plus a two-point connection between the same two.

Wellington-Napoleon failed on its two point run after its fourth touchdown, leading to the 28-22 lead.

Johnson posted career-highs of seven completions, 208 yards and two touchdowns after completing just one pass in his first career start the previous week. Rodriguez led the run game with 58 yards, while Davis added 54.

Davis (100 yards), Eagen (60 yards) and Rodriguez (29 yards) all had two catches apiece in the loss.

West Platte moves into KCI Conference play Friday, Sept. 1 with a home game against high-powered East Buchanan, 1-1 on the season after a 27-20 loss to Bishop LeBlond in Week 2. The Bulldogs put up 56 in a season-opening win over South Harrison.

Entering the game, West Platte has lost nine straight in KCI play including an 0-7 mark a year ago. The Bluejays won the season-opener in 2016, as well, before losing nine straight.

Princeton 38, North Platte 0

The Panthers managed just more than 200 yards of offense and dropped to 0-2 with a shutout loss Friday, Aug. 25 in Princeton, Mo.

North Platte committed four turnovers and was unable to recreate last year’s success when they beat the Tigers for one of two wins in a 2-8 season. Princeton avenged last year’s 46-12 loss with a strong showing on offense and defense.

After going 1-6 in KCI play in 2016, North Platte opens the league slate Friday, Sept. 1 with a road game at Mid-Buchanan — the Panthers’ third straight away contest.

Austin Snook (2-for-8, 17 yards and three interceptions) and Andrew Hernandez (2-for-5, 35 yards) split time at quarterback but neither the senior returning starter nor the sophomore backup could lead a touchdown drive for North Platte. Remington Wilson, a senior running back, again led the offense with 61 yards rushing but needed 21 carries to reach the mark.

Wilson also led the defense with seven tackles, but North Platte didn’t force any turnovers.