Still flying high

Todd Nugent/Special to PrepsKC

By Kaleb Huffman PrepsKC Staff Writer
Posted: September 1, 2017 - 11:41 PM



In a battle of early-season unbeatens, Platte County and Staley only one-team could emerge unscathed. Staley answered the test with a 62-27 victory over Platte County at Pirate Stadium on Friday evening.

The Falcons (3-0) entered the game ranked No. 3 in the Missouri Media Rankings Class 5 poll and the Pirates came in ranked No. 8 in the Class 4 poll. The Pirates (2-1) answered the call early with a quick 13-0 lead after senior quarterback Tanner Clarkson connected with classmate Jon Watts on a pair of scores (26 and 23 yards) shell shocking the Falcons'.

Clarkson finished 17-37 with 310 yards passing and 4 TD's and 3 INT's.

"Tonight was really about one-play at a time. They came out and punched us in the mouth," Falcons head coach Phil Lite said. "The first two drives stalled and on the third we scored some points and that got us going. Then we started getting some stops against their deadly offense."

The Falcons', however answered the Pirates and deep in the second quarter the score was knotted at 27. They took over the ball after junior defensive back Landon Donaldson intercepted a Clarkson pass on his own six-yard line.

On the first-play of the drive Falcons' senior quarterback John Raybourn found junior receiver Mark Robinson up the seam for a 94-yard TD strike, one of his four passing scores on the evening giving the Falcons a 34-27 lead after senior placekicker Jacob Stewart's extra-point.

Raybourn had 365 yards passing on 12-21 adding 103 yards on the ground on just 12 totes with 1 TD.

"We have so many weapons and I knew Mark (Robinson) would be open up the seam and he made a big play for us," Raybourn said. "Our mentality is to be a running team, but we have weapons on the outside as well. We just wanted to control the line of scrimmage and that's what we did tonight."

Donaldson intercepted a last-second heave by Clarkson and walked into the locker room with a 34-27 lead.

The Falcons' received the ball opening the second-half with a 77-yard scoring scamper by senior Rod Criss for a 41-27 Falcons advantage, Then, Raybourn found senior tight end Zach Elam on a 23-yard TD for a 48-27 Falcons lead.

The Falcons added scoring runs from Jaden Moss (51 yards) and Aaron Kease's second of the night (30 yards) pushing the score to the final margin of 62-27.

"We needed to come out in the second half and not turn the ball over," Pirates' coach Bill Utz said. "They took advantage of a busted coverage and took advantage of it. They made plays and we didn't make the plays we should have."

The Falcons hit the road for a 7 p.m. road contest at Blue Springs South next week.

The Pirates have a 7 p.m. kickoff at Harrisonville next week.