The final week of the regular season ended up jumbling the Class 1 District 7 standings with North Platte on the unfortunate end of the reshuffle.
Following a 44-14 loss to Plattsburg on Friday, the Panthers dropped from No. 5 to No. 7 and now face a rematch with No. 2 seed East Buchanan (5-4) in the first round of the postseason. Orrick’s win against Slater moved the Bearcats from No. 7 to No. 6, and despite a loss to Lawson, West Platte (1-8) moved up a spot to No. 5.
The three teams were separated by just .19 of a point. Orrick was .01 behind West Platte, which would’ve dropped to No. 7 on head-to-head tiebreaker if Orrick had moved to the No. 5 spot.
Instead, North Platte travels to Gower, Mo. on Friday, Oct. 21 needing a win to keep the season alive.
North Platte (2-7) entered the regular season finale with a chance to go to the fourth spot with a win against Plattsburg (3-6). Even with a loss, the standings going into the game indicated a likely rematch between the two teams.
Having lost three straight since beating West Platte, North Platte coach Josh Rodriguez moved senior Ben French from running back to quarterback and decided to try and use the option game with his best runner to spark the offense. The move worked early with French scoring on a 15-yard run in the first quarter to put the Panthers up 6-0, and his 8-yarder in the second quarter plus a Remington Wilson 2-point conversion tied the score at 14.
French finished with 131 yards rushing on 21 carries and completed 3 of 8 passes for 81 yards.
Austin Snook, North Platte’s junior quarterback, shifted out to wide receiver and tight end for much of the game, catching one pass for 12 yards. Plattsburg took a 21-14 lead late in the second quarter, and Rodriguez put Snook in to run a two-minute drill offense.
Plattsburg grabbed an interception on Snook’s only pass attempt and converted it into 25-yard field goal to take a 23-14 lead into the break.
North Platte didn’t score again despite totaling 231 rushing yards, including 27 for Wilson. The Panthers threw three interceptions total but also forced a pair of turnovers from Plattsburg. French had an interception and Corbin Green recovered a fumble Chance Chesnut forced.
French, Wilson and senior defensive back Tony Martin finished with nine tackles apiece.
North Platte advanced to the District 7 title game last season but faces a big challenge to survive the first round. East Buchanan won the first matchup 40-6 in Week 7 of the regular season, but the Bulldogs have lost three of four going into the postseason, including a 56-12 defeat against Hamilton on Friday.
Lawson 42, West Platte 0
The Bluejays lost their eighth straight but managed to earn a more manageable rematch despite the shutout loss.
Lawson led 35-0 at halftime Friday, Oct. 14 at the new Rudolph Eskridge Stadium in Weston, Mo. and scored on Cody Glenn’s third touchdown pass early in the third quarter to complete the scoring. West Platte managed 198 yards of offense but did not reach the end zone.
West Platte senior quarterback Nick Miller completed 11 of 18 passes but for only 82 yards. Alec Carson caught five passes for 29 yards, while Noah Johnson added three for 28. Gavin Davis led the rushing attack with 54 yards on 18 carries, while Johnson added 41 on three attempts.
West Platte dropped to 1-8 overall, but the bonus points of playing a 7-2 Class 2 school moved the Bluejays up to No. 5. They travel Friday, Oct. 21 to play against Plattsburg for the second time in three weeks. The Tigers won the previous matchup 34-13.
Each of the previous four seasons, West Platte reached the Class 1 District 7 title game, going to the playoffs in 2015 and 2013. The Bluejays’ last one-win season came in 2000 (1-8), and they went on to win the Class 1 state championship the following season.