Format changes have most Platte County teams in new postseason assignments

Football up to Class 5 for 1st time due to teams choosing ‘alternate fall,’ while softball, cross country, volleyball, golf and tennis no longer in largest classifications.
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The Missouri State High School Activities Association released class and district assignments for 2020 fall sports Monday — nearly a full month later than normal due to COVID-19 complications. The biggest factor in the delay was the option for members schools to move fall sports to the “alternate fall” (also known as spring).

Platte County will have a lot of new postseason outlooks, most notably in football where the Pirates will be Class 5 for the first time in program history.

The uncertainty increased with several sports adding an additional classification or classifications in an effort to increase competitive balance. This means Platte County will go from being one of the smallest schools in the largest class in sports like volleyball, tennis, golf and cross country to one of the biggest in the second-largest class.

Here’s a breakdown of the seven fall sports with district competitions:

Football
More than a decade ago, Platte County made the move from traditional Class 3 power to Class 4. The Pirates have had some of their most successful seasons in recent years, reaching the state semifinals in both 2017 and 2019.

Now coming off the first Class 4 state title game appearance in program history, Platte County makes the move to Class 5 as the smallest public school in that grouping.

There were 23 football programs — most out of St. Louis — that opted for the alternate fall. Many of those were larger schools, including Pattonville, Hazelwood Central, Hazelwood East, Hazelwood West, McCluer and McCluer North.

This kicked Platte County up from Class 4 with a reported enrollment of 907. Kearney, the next largest school at 900, remains in Class 4. The smallest school in Class 5 appears to be Westminster Christian, a private school in St. Louis subject to the state’s new success multiplier that moves them from 723 to over the threshold for Class 5.

Platte County is 3-1 on the season after a loss to North Kansas City (3-1) on Friday, and the two teams are now in Class 5 District 8 together. Platte County earned the No. 1 spot in the first set of district standings, and the Pirates ranked No. 7 in Class 5 in the first set of Missouri media rankings.

The most notable difference in the postseason setup will be the lack of Kearney and Smithville in the same district field as Platte County.

Class 5 District 8

Team (Record) Points

  1. Platte County (3-1) 41.83
  2. North Kansas City (3-1) 37.75
  3. Park Hill South (2-2) 31.5
  4. Staley (1-3) 31.25
  5. Oak Park (1-3) 26.95
  6. Central (St. Joseph) (1-3) 26
  7. Fort Osage (1-3) 22

Cross Country
Platte County has had some of its most successful teams in school history in recent years based on time, but competing in Class 4 limited district, sectional and state success. The Pirates will remain in Class 4 for 2020 with the state going to five classifications this season.

That means the biggest competition for Platte County will likely be Smithville and Kearney in a more equitable setup. The change also eliminates sectionals, meaning the state qualifiers will be generated straight from districts rather than having the two-step process.

Class 4 District 8

  • Benton
  • Excelsior Springs
  • Kearney
  • Lafayette
  • Platte County
  • Savannah
  • Smithville
  • William Chrisman
  • Winnetonka

Girls Golf
This sport makes one of the biggest changes, going from two classifications to four.

Platte County goes from the larger of two classes to Class 3 District 4, and with a strong start to the season, the Pirates will look to immediately make an impact with a strong top four. However, the inclusion of traditional power Pembroke Hill will add depth to the 12-team field. The Raiders were sixth as a team in the 2019 Class 1 Missouri State Golf Championships, and they are a five-time state champion as one of the most consistent small school powers in recent years.

Class 3 District 4

  • Belton
  • Fort Osage
  • Grandview
  • Kearney
  • Pembroke Hill
  • Platte County
  • Raytown
  • Raytown South
  • St. Teresa’s Academy
  • Truman
  • William Chrisman
  • Winnetonka

Boys Soccer
Coming off a run to the Class 3 state championship game, Platte County remains in Class 3 District 16 with Smithville and Kearney, but Winnetonka replaces St. Joseph Lafayette. Soccer remains consistent at four classifications.

Class 3 District 16

  • Kearney
  • Platte County
  • Smithville
  • Winnetonka

Softball
Platte County oscillated for a few years between Class 3 and Class 4 this decade but appeared stuck in the largest classification of late. The Pirates have consistently competed for district titles regardless of postseason assignment.

However, the move to five classifications puts Platte County in Class 4, and the reduction of the number of districts per class from 16 to eight means the road to state gets a bit shorter. The Pirates will likely will battle with Smithville, Kearney and St. Joseph Lafayette in the current setup so there will still be plenty of competition.

Class 4 District 8

  • East (Kansas City)
  • Excelsior Springs
  • Kearney
  • Lafayette (St. Joseph)
  • Lincoln College Prep
  • Platte County
  • Smithville
  • Winnetonka

Girls Tennis
In the program’s brief history, Platte County spent some time in Class 1 but only during its fledgling phase. The best teams have been in Class 2 generally competing with much larger schools like Staley, Liberty, Park Hill South and others for limited state spots.

For the first time, there will be three classes in 2020, and Platte County will be in Class 2. The Pirates will still have plenty of stiff competition, having already lost duals to district foes Kearney and William Chrisman. Additionally, St. Pius X — a regular state qualifier in Class 1 — will also shift up to the middle tier.

Class 2 District 8

  • East (Kansas City)
  • Fort Osage
  • Kearney
  • Platte County
  • St. Pius X (Kansas City)
  • William Chrisman
  • Winnetonka

Volleyball
Arguably, no Platte County program has experienced more heartbreak due to difficult postseason placements than the volleyball team. The Pirates have regularly won 20-plus games in a season only to face a brutal district gauntlet.

That changes this year with volleyball going from four classes to five, and Platte County will be in Class 4 District 16. The new setup also reduces the number of teams in brackets from eight or nine down to six or less.

In this year’s setup, Platte County already has wins over likely top competitors Smithville and Kearney.

Class 4 District 16

  • Excelsior Springs
  • Kearney
  • Lafayette (St. Joseph)
  • Platte County
  • Smithville

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