Caught in the Webb

Dion Clisso/PrepsKC

By Cole Young PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: November 18, 2017 - 5:27 PM

WEBB CITY, Mo.— The Platte County Pirates found themselves in the position they wanted to be in near the end of their Missouri Class 4 semifinal against Webb City, with the ball and a chance to win.

Unfortunately for Platte County, it had just 37 seconds to drive down the field which was not enough in its 21-18 loss to Webb City.

Platte County played from behind all day, but battled back in the second half to pull within three points with just over five minutes left in the game.

Despite trailing by as many as 14 in the second half, Platte County coach Bill Utz knew his team would fight back and he made that clear in his halftime message.

“I don’t know what’s gong to happen but I know you are going to fight,” Utz told his team at halftime.  “They did that. Going down two scores was huge. I thought that was an opportunity that a lot of people would fold and watching their film, that’s usually what happens against Webb City.”

Instead the Pirates battled back from 14-0 and then 21-10.

The biggest play on the offensive side came when quarterback Tanner Clarkson found Jon Watts down the right sideline to set up a Gavin Hardman two-yard touchdown run to bring the game to 21-16. Platte County converted on the two-point conversion to get to within a field goal, 21-18. Hardman scored both touchdowns for Pirates.

It was one of a host of highlight reel plays from the Pirate receivers, who hauled in 19 passes for 314 yards, led by 136 yards on seven catches by Watts.

“If the ball is in the air I expect it will be caught because that’s what they do,” Utz said. “They are good. Tanner does a nice job getting the ball to them. They did a good job making plays today.”

Platte County trailed 7-0 at the half, but had plenty of opportunities to start the game.  The Pirates drove the length of the field on their first possession before it ended in an interception at the Webb City 3. In the final minutes before halftime Platte County had it down to the Webb City 3 again before their drive stalled out.

“If we would have kicked a field goal it maybe would have changed things but we are playing to win,” Utz said. “With them scoring a touchdown and getting the ball to start the second half we weighed the options to try and get the score versus kicking the ball.”

The Pirates finished the season 11-3.

“At the start of the season these seniors had a goal to go further than the class before them. Hopefully that continues,” Utz said.