more win means a trip to the Dome
What an atmosphere there was in Pirates Stadium on Monday
night. Beautiful weather for football, a quarterfinal
rematch between the top two rated teams in the state,
and a packed house for the event.
The game lived up to its billing as the Platte County
Pirates outlasted the Odessa Bulldogs in a see-saw battle,
Top-ranked Platte County moves on to the semi-finals
with a home game this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. against Seneca.
The Pirates, in their quest for a three-peat, upped their
record to 12-0 and extended their winning streak to 40
games, second longest in state history. The Pirates have
now won 52 of their last 53 games.
The Odessa Bulldogs came to town looking to avenge last
years 29-13 playoff loss to the Pirates but came
up short once again. The Bulldogs provided the stiffest
test of the year for Platte County. They even held a 14-7
halftime lead, which marked the first time in 40 games
that the Pirates had trailed at the half.
They say when two evenly matched and talented teams play,
the team that makes a critical mistake usually loses.
But whoever said that forgot one thing. Teams with character
and poise can overcome their mistakes. Thats exactly
what happened Monday night.
The Pirates made two costly mistakes, a blown coverage
on a long scoring pass and an interception deep in their
own territory, setting up another touchdown. Then the
Orange and Black dug in and fought their way back to defeat
a talented and big Odessa team.
The game was a tale of two halves. Odessa took advantage
of the Pirate miscues and built a halftime lead only to
be outplayed in the second half by a determined Pirate
This game will rank as a classic along side the double
overtime playoff victory over Chillicothe three years
ago. Each of the previous two state championship teams
had a turning point in their seasons where their character
withstood a challenge. Two years ago, the Pirates snapped
a 21-21 tie in a sectional game against OHara and
won 35-21 enroute to the first state title.
Last year, the Pirates came from behind in the championship
game on an electrifying kickoff return by David Poolman,
who leapt the last would-be tackler to go 90 yards for
the score. This years team overcame two costly first
half mistakes with the most inspired half of football
Pirate fans have seen in a very long time.
The game began well for PC as they stopped Odessa on
three plays. PCs first possession was highlighted
by a long 33-yard pass play to Nick Jaros that set up
the games first score. Aaron Bernard capped the
drive with a 10-yard run through the right side, giving
the Pirates the early 7-0 lead. The drive went 61 yards
in 5 plays. Things were looking better as the Pirates
got the ball back with a chance to extend the lead. They
drove about 40 yards down inside the Odessa 10 yard line
before stalling. Jaros field goal attempt was just
In the second quarter on a third and long from their
own 41, Odessa quarterback Brady Madsen rolled left and
found Zach Adams with a pass. Adams took the ball against
the grain and down the right sideline 59 yards for the
tying touchdown. Moments later Odessa linebacker Ryan
Barnes intercepted PCs Chris Hawkins and returned
the ball to the Pirates 18 yard line. From there,
the Bulldogs needed only 3 plays to get into the endzone
as Madsen found a wide-open Jacob Cahill with an 18-yard
scoring toss. The remainder of the quarter found the Pirates
being frustrated as Odessa continually stuffed Platte
Countys running game. About the only highlight for
the Pirates in the first half was a 67 yard punt from
Aaron Bernard. The Odessa faithful were very vocal as
their team left the field at the intermission.
Pirate fans waited for what seemed like an eternity for
the second half, wondering all the while if this could
be the end of the season for the Pirates, or would they
rally. Until now, the Pirates had not been tested and
now all would see if this years team could answer
a defining moment. The answer would come soon.
The Pirates came out for the second half with a vengeance.
You could feel the determination in the team that this
would not be their last game of the season. The Orange
and Black took the kickoff and marched downfield to score
quickly and tie the game. Chris Hawkins capped an 11-play,
55-yard march with a sneak from two yards out. The drive
set the tone for the half. Platte County decided to stick
to its running game and rode the strength of Matt Prout
and Aaron Bernard.
The Pirates had made one adjustment at the half. Coach
Chip Sherman said, In the first half we were fanning
their line out with our blocking scheme. So we decided
in the second half to focus on sealing the defensive ends
to try to open up some room on the corners. The backs
would have to read the block and either take the ball
around the corner or cut it inside the defensive end and
find a seam.
The adjustment was just what the doctor ordered. The
Pirates time and time again ran Prout and Bernard off
the corners for substantial gains. In fact, the winning
score by Matt Prout came on a run around the left corner.
Prout read the block, cut inside the defensive end and
rambled 33 yards into the endzone early in the fourth
quarter. The run concluded a 62-yard drive in 7 plays.
The Pirates attempted only two passes in the second half.
They relied on Prout and Bernard to carry the load.
On the defensive side, the Pirates may have played their
best half in three years. Sean OConner and Travis
Frogge were unstoppable. They harassed the Odessa quarterback,
sacking him a couple of times and batting down a pass.
They held Odessa to 37 total yards of offense in the second
half. The Bulldogs were only able to make 2 first downs
in the half, and one of those was courtesy of a Pirate
pass interference penalty. Justin Houpe sealed the victory
with an interception in the games final minute.
For the game, the Pirates totaled 259 yards of offense,
203 on the ground and 56 in the air. Matt Prout led all
ball carriers with 21 carries for 157 yards and a touchdown.
Aaron Bernard had 19 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown.
Chris Hawkins completed 4 of 11 passes for 56 yards and
1 interception. Nick Jaros had 2 receptions for 38 yards.
Defensively, the Pirates yielded 155 yards of offense
to Odessa. Odessa had 117 yards passing and only 38 yards
rushing. As mentioned earlier, the Pirates held Odessa
to only 37 yards of offense in the second half. They also
had one interception.
This game showed how much character this team has. Prout
and Bernard would not be denied. They carried three and
four tacklers on each run and it seemed as if they were
carrying the entire stadium as well. The defense was outstanding.
OConner, Frogge, Luke Rainey, Nick Jaros, Ben Houpe,
and the rest of the defense were like a brick wall. Pirate
fans could sense the confidence in the Odessa sideline
start to erode early in the fourth quarter before Prouts
Although the players play the game and both teams put
on a terrific show, the coaching may have been a deciding
factor as well. In a close game such as this, winning
and losing may come down to the adjustments made by the
coaches during the game. Shermans staff had the
right answers just as if this were a chess match.
After the game Matt Prout commented, We made a
couple of blocking adjustments at halftime. Coach told
us this is why we did two-a-days back in August. So we
could finish the game strong. He had faith in us and we
knew wed come back.
Sean OConner said, We just got after them
in the second half. We didnt make any mistakes.
As for their next opponent, OConner said, I
dont care who it is. Bring them on.
Travis Frogge added, We werent going to have
our first and only loss tonight.
Up Next -
The Pirates will host a semi-final game this Saturday
against Seneca. Game time will be 1:30. Like the Pirates,
Seneca will bring a 12-0 record into the game. Platte
County and Seneca are the only undefeated teams remaining
in Class 3. Seneca defeated Mountain Grove 42-20 on Monday