notes/quotes by GH
by Greg Hall
Game notes and quotes from Platte Countys 21-14
comeback win over a very good Odessa Bulldogs team.
Platte Countys kicking game is better than
a lot of college teams. Aaron Bernard punts left-footed
meteors that fall from the sky like wounded geese. Nick
Jaros missed his only two field goal attempts but both
were barely wide of the mark. Jaros kickoffs almost
always sail deep inside the opponents five-yard
line. The Pirates also cover kicks like they havent
eaten in weeks and the kick returner is an 18-ounce prime
rib. Sean OConnor hits like a man who is unconcerned
about preserving the four teeth that somehow have managed
to remain in his head. The Pirate kicking game is a huge
advantage at the high school level.
Odessa did a very nice job of putting heat on Chris
Hawkins and making him throw the football in a hurry.
After he tossed a critical interception in the second
quarter that led to a 14-7 Odessa lead, Chip Sherman decided
to keep the ball on the ground throughout most of the
second half. We decided to let our strong legs win
it, said Sherman. If Platte County has a weakness,
its Hawkins lack of experience in a crumbling
Speaking of strong legs, are there two tougher backs
in the state than Matt Prout and Aaron Bernard? Name me
another school where the two best running backs line up
in four-point stances as nose tackles on the defensive
side of the ball? These two seniors run like Volkswagens
with broken steering wheels. I want the ball in
my hands at the end of the game, said Prout. So
did everyone wearing black and orange, Matt.
Steve Hopkins, Odessas head coach, refused
to admit his defensive line was worn down by Platte County.
Our defensive line didnt get beat tonight
or wear down, said a beaten but proud Hopkins. I
think we beat their offensive line. I think those running
backs, Bernard and Prout, were stronger than the kids
we had tackling them. We just couldnt stop their
running game. Their running game overwhelmed us.
Nick Jaros upset the line judge early in the game
when he inquired a bit too aggressively about whether
or not he was lining up on- or offside. The referee turned
to Chip Sherman and angrily pointed at Jaros yelling,
You keep him outta my face! Sherman quickly
reminded Jaros that it would not be a good thing if he
got tossed and no further problems ensued.
Platte County misfired on two deep post patterns
to Jaros in the second quarter that would have made this
game a much less interesting bout. Hawkins overthrew a
wide-open Jaros on the first one and Jaros bobbled and
eventually dropped his second chance at a big play. Well
work on our timing and get it right the next time,
Jaros said in the postgame locker room.
Heard at halftime in the Platte County crowd: Theyre
in a dogfight. Well see what theyre
made of now. This game aint over.
Consider this: The Platte County seniors have lost only
one game in four years and no underclassman has ever tasted
defeat. Few athletes ever play on an undefeated team let
alone an undefeated career. What Chip Sherman and his
staff and players are doing is absolutely amazing.
The last guy I expected to see directing me into
my parking spot across the street from the tennis courts
was Platte Countys own Missouri Superintendent of
the Year, Mr. Mark Harpst. On second thought, thats
probably why hes the Super Super of the year.
Since I missed dinner at home, I tried the PC concession
stands fare. I spent $4.50 for a burger, polish
dog and a Diet Coke (a guys gotta watch his figure).
The burger received two stars on a four-star scale and
the polish managed to rate three.
Platte County R-3 handles big-game crowds as well
as any high school venue Ive frequented. From parking,
to restrooms, to seating, this is a first-class operation.
No parking lot clears out as quickly and as orderly as
PCs lots. If you dont think so, take in a
game in Olathe or Blue Springs sometime and get back to
me when you finally make it out of there.
Quotes of Note
We still feel were as good a team as
Steve Hopkins, Odessa head coach
GH: Hopkins runs a very classy program. He searched out
numerous Platte County players after the game and told
them how well they played. He then spoke to every one
of his seniors individually and embraced them. Odessa
is going to be very good for many years to come under
this guys watch.
We thought it came down to character.
Chip Sherman, Platte County head coach
GH: I looked for panic in the Platte County players
faces when they went down 14-7 but it never showed up.
What I saw mostly was rage.
My first two, three or four runs are usually
duds. It takes me a while to get going. I think being
a big back and having good speed and power, it wears on
the guys. You can feel that when theyre tackling.
As the game goes on, I just break more and more and more
tackles. And then it gets in their head.
They were very physical. Those werent
easy yards. They were competitors and those are the kind
of guys we want to play.
Im sorry if Im not making any
sense. Some of those hits out there kind of scrambled
GH: Prout is a heck of a good kid and one tough hombre
with a football in his hands at crunch time. I dont
think even the 800-pound wooden Pirate could knock this
kid over in the fourth quarter.
We bended but we did not break (on defense).
Sean OConnor, Pirate senior defensive linebacker,
on Platte Countys defense giving up 14 points but
winning their 40th consecutive game
GH: OConnor is far from the biggest guy on the Pirates
team but he ranks mighty high up on my list of guys Id
least like to get mad at me. He plays like Jack Lambert
only a little meaner.
We werent going to let this be our
last game. We didnt want to leave our legacy as
Were just going to keep pushing
and see who breaks, and obviously they broke.
Travis Frogge, Pirate senior defensive end and
GH: Frogge received treatment for leg cramps late in the
second half but he re-entered the game and said later
he did not expect any further problems. Frogge was a monster
on defense the second half. He was in on almost every
tackle, no matter what side of the line Odessa tried to
Theyre good. Theyre 12-0.
Chip Sherman, when asked what he knew about Seneca,
the Pirates semifinal opponent Saturday at 1:30 at Platte