West Platte football makes district jump despite loss

West Platte turned in an encouraging performance and then received some even more encouraging news.

Following a 23-9 loss to Class 2 Lawson in the regular season finale Friday, Oct. 13, West Platte still managed to jump from No. 6 to No. 4 in the final Class 1 District 7 standings. That means the Bluejays (1-8), who have lost eight straight, will host a postseason game this week against Orrick (3-7).

West Platte — bumped up through games against Lincoln Prep (Class 3) and Lathrop and Lawson (Class 2) — finished just .08 of a point in front of Orrick, which plays all Class 1 school schools. Both teams played in the regular season against second-seeded Wellington-Napoleon, which beat West Platte 34-30 in Week 2 and pounded Orrick 40-8 two weeks ago.

Since a win over Lincoln Prep in Week 1, West Platte has lost eight straight, culminating with the two-touchdown loss to Lawson (5-4).

The game started slowly with a pair of three-and-outs for each team in the first quarter, but Lawson mishandled Gavin Davis’ rugby style punt after the fourth series without a first down. West Platte senior Grant Eagen fell on the loose ball after it was knocked backward, setting the Bluejays up at Lawson’s 13-yard line.

West Platte initially failed to gain a first down, but an offsides penalty against Lawson ahead of a potential field goal attempt restarted the drive.

On first down inside the 5, West Platte picked up a 5-yard penalty, and after a short run for junior quarterback Noah Johnson, he dropped back to pass and hit Brayden Cogan for a 7-yard touchdown. The kick failed, but the Bluejays held a 6-3 lead at halftime.

Lawson then scored 20 more unanswered, while West Platte’s offense never got started.

West Platte managed just 70 yards of offense. Davis ran for 19 yards on 11 carries, while Johnson didn’t complete another pass. He went to the bench late in the second half with Eagen — a senior wide receiver — taking over at quarterback and completing one pass to Aidan Sullivan on the Bluejays’ final scoring drive.

The final points for West Platte came on a 41-yard field goal for Davis late in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 23-9 with a pass interference penalty aiding the cause.

West Platte played without starting offensive linemen Cole Whalen and Thomas Tharp and then added the quarterback injury late in the second half. The Bluejays now hope to end their losing streak and surpass last year’s win total in the Class 1 District 7 opener Friday, Oct. 20 at Rudolph Eskridge Stadium in Weston, Mo.

The strength of schedule benefited West Platte with North Platte (2-7, No. 6) and Mid-Buchanan (1-8, No. 8) both owning wins over the Bluejays but finishing behind them in the district standings.