Very special teams

Todd Nugent/Special to PrepsKC

By SJ Munoz PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: September 15, 2017 - 10:16 PM



Sparked by a key special teams play, Platte County rallied from an early 14-point deficit to defeat Belton 44-28 Friday night in Platte City.

Belton came out quickly and gained the early edge on the strength of three first-quarter turnovers. Belton senior running back Dante Madden scored at the 6:06 mark of the first and on the first play of the second quarter to put the visitors on top 14-0.

Platte County battled back and evened the contest with a Tanner Clarkson TD pass to Dylan Gilbert followed by a punt block and return for a score by senior linebacker Dakota Schmidt.

With 4:22 to play in the first half, Belton QB Bart Harris fired a 43-yard strike to Ezekiel Henson to give the visitors the lead back at 21-14.

The rest of the half belonged to the home team as Gavin Hardman notched a rushing TD and Clarkson threw for his second score of the half with just 32 seconds left in the quarter to give Platte County a

28-21 lead at halftime.

A pair of field goals by senior Parker Lucina, the second of which came with 4:43 to play in the third, pushed the Platte County lead to 34-21.

Belton cut the lead to six (34-28), going to the fourth, on a TD pass from Harris to Henson, but that was as close as things would get.

Platte County (4-1) pitched a shutout over the final 12 minutes while scoring 10 points of their own to comfortably win their fourth game this season.

"This was a game that whichever team had the majority of the momentum was going to come out on top," Platte County head coach Bill Utz said.

"We had some uncharacteristic mistakes in the first quarter and Belton made some really great plays. The blocked punt really gave us momentum and we never gave it back. We're known for our passing, but we've put a lot of effort into our run game and in order to be able to win games like this we had to run the ball."

Platte County, the No. 4 team in Class 4, welcomes undefeated and fourth-ranked (Class 5) Liberty to Platte City next week Belton (2-3) plays host to Class 4, No. 3 Kearney (4-1).