Hornets Sting Bluejays In Quarterfinals

The Hamilton Hornet defense stopped the West Platte Bluejays 1 yard short of the goal line as the clock ticked down to zero securing a 33-27 Penney High victory and a trip to the semi-finals in Urbana where they will play the Skyline Tigers this Saturday afternoon at 2:00.

Offensively LaTroy Harper led the way with 198 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. West Platte received the opening kickoff and went on a 12 play scoring drive in just over 5 1/2 minutes. Kyle Tabaka scored from 4 yards out and Jaime Portoles kicked the extra point for a 7-0 Bluejays lead. This would be the only time West Platte would have the lead.

The Hornets started their first scoring drive on the subsequent kickoff at the Penney 26 yard line. A run by T.C. East gave Hamilton a first down at their own 41. After a run by Korby Ford, Jaran Richman found Derek Dixon along the Bluejay's sideline for a first down at the visitor's 29. A 4 yard run by Ford led to a 25 yard touchdown scamper by Ford with 4:52 left in the opening stanza. The snap by Cole Ford, the hold by Korby Ford, and the kick by Brock Swindler tied the score at 7. West Platte started their next possession at their own 20 yard line. The Bluejays moved the ball to the Penney 11 yard line before attempting a 28 yard field goal that fell short of the cross bar. The Hornets started on the Hamilton 20 yard line. The first quarter came to an end with Penney facing a 2nd and 8 at their own 22.

A pass completion on 3rd and 7 from Richman to LaTroy Harper gave the Hornets a first down at the West Platte 38. The drive soon stalled and Richman punted the ball into the end zone giving the Bluejays a first down at their own 20. Two plays later, T.C. East recovered a West Platte fumble at the Bluejay 23. A run by East and 2 by Richman gave Hamilton a first and goal at the West Platte 7, but Penney failed to capitalize and turned the ball over on downs at the Bluejay 23. West Platte was able to move the ball to the Hornet 36 before Telly Harper recovered a fumble on the Penney 34 yard line. After 2 incomplete passes, Richman hit Latroy Harper on a quick slant and Harper out ran the defenders 66 yards to the end zone. Swindler's kick made it 14-7 and 1:28 left in the half. Following the kickoff, and on 2nd and 11, Kenny Pulley recovered a Bluejay fumble at the West Platte 41. Penney High would move the ball to the 12 yard line, thanks in part to a pass interference call on the Bluejays in the end zone, but were unable to capitalize when the clock ran out on an incomplete pass. 

West Platte tried an on side kick to open the second half, but Payton Brown called for a fair catch on the pop up at the Penney 46. Two plays later, East ran for a 51 yard TD. Swindler's kick gave the Hornets a 21-7 lead just 43 seconds into the 3rd quarter. The Bluejays put together an 8 play scoring drive with Justin Rhodes scoring from the 1 yard line. Portoles kick was good making the score 21-14 with 7:39 left in the 3rd. Hamilton would start their next possession on the Penney 20. On 3rd and 9, Richman hit Korby Ford and a penalty on the play by the defense gave the Hornets a first down at the 41 yard line of West Platte. On the next play, LaTroy Harper hauled in a pass from Richman and crossed the goal line with 6:14 on the 3rd quarter clock. The kick was blocked, but Penney increased their lead to 13, 27-14. After the kickoff, the Bluejays would begin another scoring drive on their 39 yard line. On the 11th play of the possession, Justin Rhodes ran for a 2 yard TD. Portles kick closed the gap to 27-20 with 56 seconds left in the 3rd period. Korby Ford returned the kickoff to the mid field stripe.

The 4th quarter began with Hamilton facing a 3rd and 4 at the West Platte 44. On the first play of the final quarter, Richman threw a touchdown pass to LaTroy Harper. The 2-point try failed, but Penney had a 33-21 lead 8 seconds into the 4th quarter. The Bluejays returned the kickoff to their 49 yard line. Two plays later, Brett Shepardson scored on a 44 yard run. The 2-point attempt failed when LaTroy Harper and T.C. East combined to tackle the ball carrier, but the margin had been narrowed to 33-27 with 11:03 left in the game. The Hornets began their next possession at the Hamilton 34 yard line. Penney would begin to use more of the clock before each snap from this point forward. A run by Kyle Elliott, another by Korby Ford, and a pass from Richman to LaTroy Harper gave the Hornets a first down on the Hamilton 47. Two rushes by East and one by Richman gave Penney another first down at the West Platte 42. A rush by Elliott and a pass to Korby Ford ended in another first and ten at the 31 yard line of the Bluejays. The drive ended when a 4th and 6 pass fell incomplete at the West Platte 27. The Bluejays would record a first down at their own 37 and another at the West Platte 49 before taking their 2nd time out of the half and 3:01 remaining in the contest. Three plays later, the Bluejays had a first down at the 40 yard line of Hamilton. On 2nd and 8, East would tackle the ball carrier for a 2 yard loss. After a 3rd and ten pass fell incomplete, West Platte took their final timeout of the game and 2:10 on the clock. On 4th down, the Bluejays ran for a first down at the 16. Three plays later, West Platte registered another first down at the 4 yard line and under 1 minute to play. On first down the Bluejays gained 1 yard. On 2nd down they lost 2 yards, and on third down the Hornet defense stopped the ball carrier at the 1 yard line as the final second ticked off the clock.

Garrett Trosper was the leading tackler in the game for Penney with 16 total tackles followed by Kenny Pulley with 14 (1 for loss), 12 each for Mason McFall (1 sack and 1 tackle for loss) and Kyle Elliott, Telly Harper with 10, Jaran Richman 9, Tyler Trosper 6, T.C. East 4 ( 1 sack and 1 for loss), Korby Ford (1 for loss) and Latroy Harper 3, Drake Brown and Brock Swindler 2, and one each for Cale Whitt, Payton Brown, and Wyatt Gregory. Pulley, Telly Harper, LaTroy Harper, and East each recovered 1 fumble. Richman attempted 18 passes, completing 8 for 267 yards and 3 touchdowns. LaTroy Harper caught 5 passes for 198 yards and 3 TD's, Korby Ford 2 pass receptions for 40 yards, and Derek Dixon 29 yards on 1 catch. East rushed for 88 yards and 1 TD on 13 carries. Korby Ford ran for 42 yards and 1 TD on 7 carries, Elliott 7 yards on 3 carries, and Richman 6 rushes for 5 net yards. Korby Ford returned 1 kickoff 45 yards, LaTroy Harper 1 for 3 yards, and Payton Brown 1 for no gain (fair catch). The only punt in the game was by Richman.

After the game, Coach Obert remarked, " Another very emotional win that went down to the final seconds. I am so proud of how the boys faced some adversity, but made the plays to win in the end." He went on to say, " I thought our offense played well against a very good West Platte defense. Offensively we were able to run the ball more effectively than in the first meeting, and were still able to hit some big plays through the air." Obert had this to say about their semi-final opponent, "Skyline is a senior heavy team with a good defense and a lot of offensive weapons." 

The winner will play the victor between Marceline and Valle Cathloic for the Class I Championship at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis at 2:15 on November 28th.

The Caldwell County News

101 South Davis
P.O. Box 218
Hamilton, MO 64644
Phone: 816-583-2116

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