PLATTE CITY, Mo. – The win probability was pretty high – almost certain – for Grain Valley if such stats are kept for high school football games.
The Eagles entered the fourth quarter Friday night with a three-score lead against Platte County but a gaffe in special teams allowed the Pirates to pick up a 18-17 Suburball Small Seven win at Pirate Stadium.
Platte County (3-1, 2-0 Small Seven) trailed 17-0 but took advantage of two turnovers by the Eagles (2-2, 0-2) to turn the tide and rally for a fourth straight win in the series.
“It was a good three quarters; gosh darn it, everything went wrong for us in the fourth,” Grain Valley coach David Allie said.
The Eagles led 7-0 at halftime and boosted the lead to 17-0 in the third quarter against the Pirates, ranked No. 7 in the Missouri Media poll.
Grain Valley got a 34-yard pass play from Cole Keller to Parker Bosserman to move to the Platte County 12-yard line on the second drive of the third. Four plays later, a 28-yard field goal by Jack Knust made it 10-0.
Bosserman and Keller connected on the next drive, this time for a 45-yard touchdown on the third play of the drive.
With 3:33 to play in the third, the Eagles were up 17-0 but things went south from there.
Grain Valley’s defense forced a three-and-out. On the fourth play of the ensuing drive, a screen pass was intercepted by Platte County defensive lineman Keaton Smith, who ran it back to the Grain Valley 20-yard line. A 19-yard pass from Chris Ruhnke to Dayton Mitchell moved the ball to the 1-yard line but the quarter ended.
Platte County needed to convert on fourth down at the 1-yard line to keep the drive alive and got a touchdown from Lewis Hunter 12 seconds into the fourth quarter. The Pirates missed the extra point.
Grain Valley went three-and-out and were forced to punt and the Pirates took over with 9:32 left. On the first play, Mitchell and Ruhnke linked up for a 47-yard touchdown that took nine seconds off the board.
The two-point conversion failed and Grain Valley led 17-12.
“We played so weird,” Platte County coach Bill Utz said. “I felt good going into the game, maybe too good. Maybe it was one of those things a little bit of a hangover from last week (a 51-14 win vs. Kearney). Don’t take anything away from Grain Valley. They are good and I predicted they would win the conference. They aren’t a bad team. We just couldn’t get out of our own way. Once we scored, they got tight.”
The Eagles had the ball three more times before the whistle sounded but the next drive decided the outcome.
Grain Valley converted on one fourth-down attempt when Keller ran for a 2-yard gain but facing 4th-and-7 from their own 34, the Eagles punted. Gabe Harmon got his hand on the attempt and the deflection bounced up to Trent Reuckert, who picked it up and ran 20 yards for a score.
The Pirates had the lead for the first and only time.
Grain Valley’s next two drives ended on incomplete passes on fourth down. The Eagles got to midfield on the first of those two. That drive featured a 22-yard run by Keller, who ran for 52 yards to go with 161 yards passing.
Keller threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Logan Pratt in the first quarter to account for the only first-half score.
Jamore Gouldon led the Eagles with 56 yards on the ground, but he had a 59-yard touchdown in the first half called back on a block in the back that would’ve made it 14-0 in the second quarter.
The Eagles used their last time out with 1:55 left and forced a punt by Platte County, which went 50 yards.
That pinned Grain Valley at the 5-yard line and the Eagles gained only 15 yards – coming on a roughing the passer penalty on Platte County with 49 seconds left.
Keller was sacked on two of the final four plays and the other two plays were incomplete passes.
His 14th and final incomplete pass of the game came with 5 seconds left and Platte County took over the 10-yard line and took a knee.
“I appreciated the effort,” Allie said. “Nothing I said at the end (of the game) will make me or them feel any better. It is a bad taste in our mouth. It was a tough two weeks. I would say we got in our own way both weeks. We got to find a way to not do that.”