St. Joe Central rallies past Platte County
By Sam Robinson St. Joseph News-Press
Midway through the third quarter, a strange situation surrounded Central.
Senior running back Brandon Perkins finished off Central’s finest play to that point to cut Platte County’s perpetual lead to three points, but he didn’t get a chance to celebrate after a hit in the end zone injured his knee. This came shortly after running back Derek Gray suffered an eye injury on a facemask penalty.
The Pirates then scored again, giving the Indians an easy excuse to fold.
Instead, Central answered with a statement fourth quarter. Gray returned, rushed for two touchdowns, and the Indians scored the final 20 points in a 34-24 comeback victory Friday night at Pirate Stadium.
“It was looking pretty bad, two people going down. But we kept going,” said Gray, who rushed for 123 yards on 18 carries, mostly in the second half. “I told myself and my team that we’re not going riding back on the bus with an L. We were coming home with a W.”
Gray lie face down on the field turf after being yanked to the ground by his helmet. Unfortunately for Platte County, Central’s top offensive threat — held to just 25 yards in Blue Springs’ opening-night romp in St. Joseph — wouldn’t be deterred.
The junior dragged two Pirates defenders an extra 10 yards on the Indians’ first fourth-quarter possession to set up quarterback Jacob Kaiser’s 33-yard touchdown strike to wideout Nick Shores. An enthusiastic Gray galloped back to an energized Indians sideline and watched his defense finally contain Platte County’s potent passing attack.
“Derek is a very high-energy young man; the kids feed off that,” Central coach Jeff Wallace said.
Gray added what proved to be the game-winning score — a patient 7-yard scamper — on the ensuing drive, and Central’s defensive transformation persisted. For the rest of the story click here.
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