More of the same

Todd Nugent/Special to PrepsKC

By Kaleb Huffman PrepsKC Staff Writer
Posted: October 28, 2017 - 12:59 AM

In a rematch of last year's district semifinal game between Smithville and Platte County. Once-again the Platte County Pirates' defeated Smithville advancing to the district championship game with a hard-fought 42-13 victory on Friday evening at Platte County High School.

The Pirates' (9-2) advanced to the Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 4 District 8 Championship Game, thanks to a strong second-half surge.

Already leading 21-6 at the break the Pirates' were looking to close the door on the Warriors' (9-2) with some more-scoring and good-defense in the final-two quarters and they accomplished that feat.

"We approached the game as a two-way game and we were able to play well on both sides," Pirates' coach Bill Utz said. "We are blessed with a great-quarterback (Tanner Clarkson) and he played well. We knew they were going to give us a challenge, because they are a well-coached team and they did that."

After a quick three-and-out the Pirates' offense took the field and wasted little-time getting on the board. Senior running back Dakota Schmidt plunged in for a 3-yard score capping off a six-play drive giving the Pirates a 28-6 lead with 8:16 remaining in the third-quarter.

Both teams swapped punts, before the Warriors' put together a drive that extended into the fourth-quarter.

On the opening-play of the last-quarter, Warriors' sophomore running back launched a half-back pass to junior tight-end Jake Fisher for a 17-yard scoring-strike trimming the Warriors deficit to 28-13 after the extra-point by senior kicker Ben Keesee. Miller also added 97 yards rushing on 27 totes.

However, the Pirates respond with a couple of scores of their own. The first came when senior quarterback Tanner Clarkson hit classmate Devin Richardson from four yards out for a 35-13 Pirates lead following the extra-point with 6:16 on the clock.

Then, the Pirates' capitalized after a Miller fumble on a one-play drive when Clarkson found Richardson again, this time from 24 yards out and the final score in a 42-13 Pirates win advancing them to the district championship game.

Clarkson finished the game 14-22 through the air with 221 yards and 4 TD's.

"The game wasn't out of hand yet, so it was big throwing those scores late," Clarkson said. "I couldn't have played well tonight without the help of my teammates. Tonight, is just a stepping-stone of where we are trying to get."

The Pirates got the initial score of the game when Clarkson found junior receiver Dylan Gilbert for an early 7-0 lead. The Warriors' tacked on two field goals (39 and 36 yards) from Keesee in the first-quarter making the game 7-6 after the opening-quarter.

The Pirates added two scores (Gilbert and Gavin Hardman) in the second-quarter for a 21-6 halftime lead.

The Pirates will host St. Joseph Lafayette, who knocked off last year's state runner-up Kearney in the Class 4 District 8 Championship Game at 7 p.m. next Friday at Platte County High School.