Platte County loses regular season finale but still takes No. 1 seed into districts

Smithville sweeps season series with Pirates after penalty kick shootout, but Warriors end up with No. 3 seed in postseason bracket due to quirk in scheduling.
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Platte County didn’t manage a goal during the run of play in 180 minutes of game time this season against Smithville, culminating with a 5-3 loss on penalty kicks Wednesday night at Smithville High School.

TODD NUGENT/PC Preps Extra
Platte County junior defender Sawyer Allen looks for room along the sideline against Winnetonka on Tuesday at Pirate Stadium.

A penalty kick in the first half staked Platte County to a lead, but ultimately, the teams went into overtime tied 1-1. However, Smithville converted all five of its penalty kicks and a stop in the second round of penalties ended up providing the difference.

Smithville swept the Suburban Conference Blue Division series between the rivals, but due to a scheduling timeline, Platte County took the No. 1 seed in this week’s Class 3 District 16 tournament. In fact, Smithville ended up with the No. 3 seed and opens the postseason Monday at Pirate Stadium against No. 2 seed Kearney.

Platte County (10-5) starts its district title defense at home against Winnetonka at 4 p.m. Monday.

The scenario was complicated. Raytown South, Platte County, Smithville and Kearney entered the final week of the regular season with chances to earn a share of the Blue Division title. Platte County and Smithville were scheduled to play Monday, but snow forced a two-day postponement.

District seeds were determined on Tuesday after Platte County defeated Winnetonka 2-0 on goals from sophomore Joseph Ibarra and senior Joey Habel. However, the Pirates needed to beat Smithville and have Raytown South lose to Smithville on Thursday.

Neither happened, and Raytown South won the Blue Division title outright.

TODD NUGENT/PC Preps Extra
Platte County junior midfielder Luke Bunge dribbles upfield against Winnetonka on Tuesday at Pirate Stadium.

Platte County now enters the postseason with desired route to a third straight playoff appearance. The Pirates advanced all the way to the Class 3 state championship game a year ago and nearly upset Rockwood Summit before ending up as runnerup in the program’s most successful season ever.

However, Platte County has struggled to produce consistent offense after losing four all-state players from a year ago. The Pirates have only four starters back from a year ago while also playing an extremely limited schedule due to complications in finding games and tournaments due to COVID-19.

Platte County will have confidence against Winnetonka after shutting out the Griffins for the second time this season. Ibarra gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead with a header off of a cross from junior forward Palmer Boekhout, and Habel doubled the advantage on a rebound off of a shot from freshman forward Connor Currence, who earned the chance on a cross from junior midfielder Calvin Forrester.

Patrick Sullivan, Platte County’s junior goalkeeper, recorded his sixth shutout of the season.

However, the momentum didn’t carry over against Smithville, which leveled 6 minutes into the second half. Platte County controlled the possession and chances throughout, just as it went down in a 1-0 loss to the Warriors earlier in the season, but there was no winner in regulation or either 10-minute sudden death overtime half.

Platte County junior defender Isaac Havemeier converted the first penalty kick of the shootout for the Pirates. Sullivan guessed right on Smithville’s second penalty kick, diving to his right but unable to stop the well-placed shot, and Habel had his second attempt saved. The Warriors made the third kick and led 3-1.

Luke Bunge, a senior midfielder, and Ibarra converted penalty kicks for Platte County, but without a stop, the Pirates were defeated after Smithville converted its fifth kick.

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