Tough enough

Todd Nugent/Special to PrepsKC

By SJ Munoz PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: November 2, 2018 - 4:11 PM



With the game on the line few teams have shined the way Platte County has this season.

The Pirates turned a tie game into a 14-point edge in the second half on their way to a 28-20 win over Excelsior Springs in Class 4 postseason action on Friday night in Platte City.

"Excelsior does a good job of doing what they do," Platte County head coach Bill Utz said. "They were reading our defense well, but we knew if we could hang tight we could get an advantage and wear them down a little bit with the way we play. All across the board we played good enough to win. Luckily with what we've done this year we knew how to handle a situation like this."

The first half was the offensive battle that was expected as the ground-heavy Tigers attack collided with Platte County’s aerial assault.

Excelsior Springs (8-3) controlled the clock over the first two quarters possessing the ball for nearly 19 minutes and took a 7-0 lead on a 65-yard run by Tae Rainey at the 2:34 mark of the opening quarter.

Platte County (10-1) needed less than two minutes to answer as Spencer Stewart connected with Dylan Gilbert on a 10-yard pass with 48 seconds left in the first.

The Excelsior Springs defense set up the next score via a Slade Covey interception at the Platte County 24.

Just 44 seconds later, Rainey scored his second rushing TD of the game and gave the visitors a 14-7 lead with just over nine minutes left in the half.

The Pirates found the equalizer once more when Cayden Davis dove into the end zone to make it 14-14 at halftime.

Platte County opened the third quarter with a huge special teams play.

Brice Bertram took the kickoff 79 yards to the house giving the Pirates their first lead of the game at 21-14 just 10 seconds into the second half.

Momentum remained with the home team as Platte County’s defense stiffened and their offense built on the lead.

With 4:40 left in the third, Adel Freitek danced into the end zone from 15 yards out to give the Pirates a 28-14 advantage.

Excelsior Springs kept hopes of a comeback alive with a five-yard TD run by Jackson Creason with 6:31 to play. The PAT was blocked and Platte County clung to a 28-20 lead.

Platte County made sure there would be no heroics on this night as the Pirates were able to milk the final 6:31 off the clock ending the game in the victory formation.

"The offense did a great job on the last drive," Utz said." It was good for us to put together a drive like that at the end of a game because that's something we haven't really done this season."

Excelsior Springs finished with 358 yards of offense led by Rainey's 192 yards on the ground.

Platte County, who will host Smithville (10-1) for the district championship next week, got 135 yards rushing from Freitek and 126 receiving yards from Gilbert.

For more photos of this game go to toddnugent.net