Shutout for a district crown

Todd Nugent/Special to PrepsKC

By Kaleb Huffman PrepsKC Staff Writer
Posted: November 3, 2017 - 11:56 PM



After top-seeded Kearney was knocked off in a shocking-upset by St. Joseph Lafayette last week, that set-up a matchup between Lafayette and Platte County.

Having a chance to host thanks, to Lafayette's win, the Pirates' relished the opportunity and stampeded   Lafayette 38-0 in the Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 4 District 8 Championship Game on Friday evening at Pirate Stadium.

The Pirates' (10-2) kept the ball away from the explosive Fighting Irish (9-3) quarterback senior Diego Bernard. The Pirates' used 47 rushing attempts and 314 yards on the ground, to wear the Fighting Irish down over the course of 48 minutes.

"We knew they had an explosive-offense, so we wanted to keep them off the field," Pirates' coach Bill Utz said. "We knew if we kept with the plan our offensive line could create some holes and get us some points. It won't be hard to keep these guys' going through the playoffs."

Leading just 7-0 at halftime, the Pirates' opened up the second-half with a 65-yard scoring-drive. Senior quarterback Tanner Clarkson had the big-play of the drive with a 41-yard scamper down the sideline, before being corralled by Fighting Irish linebacker sophomore Brian Estes.

Just a few plays later senior running-back Gavin Hardman gashed through the Fighting Irish defense for a 16-yard TD run and a 14-0 Pirates' lead after the extra-point by senior placekicker Parker Lacina with 10:23 left in the third-quarter.

After a quick three-and-out, the Pirates' struck again on Hardman's second run to pay dirt for a 21-0 lead with 7:12 remaining in the third-quarter, effectively putting the Fighting Irish in a hole they couldn't climb out of.

Hardman finished with 112 yards rushing on 19 totes and he was joined in the 100-yard club by junior Adel Freitek who carried the rock 17 times for 154 yards and a TD.

"It felt great getting the scores on the ground opening the second-half," Hardman said. "We just have to keep our momentum going with hard-work and get ready for the next opponent."

The Pirates' added a couple of more scores (Freitek and Devin Richardson) as well as a 44-yard field goal by Lacina for the final 38-0 margin.

Bernard finished 11-25 passing with 162 yards adding 33 yards on the ground after 16 carries.

However, the final-whistle couldn't blow, before a near-brawl broke out late in the fourth-quarter after a punt return by Fighting Irish senior Marcain Kimbrough-Ballard. The referees through several penalty flags after the incident.

"First of all, our kids did a great-job. There is nothing to hang their heads about and they fought to the end," Fighting Irish coach Bart Hardy said.

"Coach Utz and his staff did a great job at wearing us down, congratulations to them."

Platte County will travel to Moberly Friday for a Class 4 quarterfinal game.