Penny holds off West Platte
By Cody Thorn The St. Joseph News-Press
A fast-moving clock played a key role for both West Platte and Hamilton Friday night.
Clinging to a small lead, the Hornets defense made a goal-line stand in the waning seconds to secure a 33-27 victory over their KCI Conference foe at Alumni Field.
The final minute of the Class 1 quarterfinal game caused a bit of pandemonium on both sides that eventually saw the Hamilton defense start running toward midfield to celebrate a win and a spot in the semifinals for the fourth straight year.
The Hornets, for the second time in three weeks, made a late defensive stand to secure a win. This win, though, had a lot more on the line than the 15-14 win over South Harrison in the second round of districts.
With less than 20 seconds to go, West Platte gave the ball to Justin Rhodes, who ran for three yards. With the ball at the 1-yard line, the Bluejays never got another snap off on what would’ve been a fourth-and-goal situation. The clock expired and set up a scene of joyful celebration for Hamilton, while a number of West Platte players fell to the ground near the goal line in the background.
“This is great, this is crazy,” said cornerback/wide receiver LaTroy Harper, who stood in the back of the end zone on the game-deciding play. “It came down to the line. It was a little uncomfortable, but we pulled it out and did what we had to do to get the win.”
West Platte (6-7) forced a turnover on down with five minutes, seven seconds remaining just outside its own red zone. They proceeded to march 71 yards – but came up two yards shy. West Platte coach Nate Danneman put the outcome of the game on the legs of his best backs and they almost delivered.
Justin Rhodes, who ran for 187 yards, slowly started to chip away yards for the Bluejays, with 9, 4, 5 and 3 yards to get the ball to midfield. Facing a fourth-and-10 from the Hamilton 40-yard line, quarterback Brett Shepardson took a shotgun snap and ran to his right, gaining 24 yards. Inside the Hornet’s red zone, the senior signal callr ripped off runs of 1, 4, and 8.
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