Monday, September 4, 2017

Muskets Pick Up First Victory, Down Platte Valley 44-34

It looked for all the world like North/West Nodaway would run away with their first victory, but then they made some mistakes and let Platte Valley get right back in the game. But then they fought back after trailing at halftime and came back to get the 44-34 victory.

Both teams were tough-luck teams last year, and both teams were playing with the kind of desperation that accompanies these games. First, North/West marched right down the field as Dylan Carden ran for a first down to the Longhorns’ 38 and then Tyler Bix took a pitch 14 yards down to the 24. Korbin Koch’s draw got 15 yards to the 9, Carden fought for three more to the six, and then Brody Beason got into the end zone with 9:59 left. The Muskets, who had been struggling with extra points this year, even got one to go as Koch ran in the extra points to make it 8-0.

Platte Valley, which was overmatched by Rock Port last week, started off hung over from that encounter as a holding penalty wiped out a first down option run, Carden and Parker Ogle combined on a sack, and the Muskets got the ball back in good field position at the Longhorn 38.

But then the Muskets could not hang onto the ball, something they struggled with all night. They forced the Longhorns three and out again, but got the ball in much worse field position at their own 17. They marched down the field again, with Koch converting a fourth and inches at his own 27 with a sneak, Gabe Goff picking up 13 to the Longhorn 39, Koch following a blue wall for 28 yards to the 11. A Koch keeper brought them to the 1, but all of a sudden, on the next play, the ball squirted out and rolled all the way back to the 10, where there were only red shirts.

Platte Valley went three and out and this time, Parker Ogle caught the punt on the run and ran it back to the Longhorn 15. The Muskets only needed one play to punch it in as Korbin Koch scrambled for a touchdown with 1:26 left in the first.

But then Platte Valley started feeding it to Dalton Luke, and the more they fed him, the stronger he got and more difficult to tackle. The Muskets didn’t help themselves with a facemask penalty, one of several that they had that night. Finally, Arthur Giffin took a counter from 9 yards out to run into the end zone with 10:39 left to make it 14-6.

From there, Jordan Murphy started to play an increasingly disruptive presence in North/West’s backfield, pressuring Koch and blowing up plays. Neither side could do anything until North/West fumbled it away for the third time that night and proceeded to help the Longhorns out with a couple of facemask penalties late in the first half along with an offsides penalty. Finally, Luke twisted his way into the end zone with 1:17 left. Quarterback Patrick O’Connor tried to cut inside for the extra points, but met a blue wall and the lead was still 14-12.

It looked like it would stay that way even after North/West went three and out, but then right before half, O’Connor aired it out to Clayton Wilmes for a 45 yard strike with 18 seconds left to make it 18-14.

The bad thing about that score was that Platte Valley got the ball to start the second half. But it didn’t matter as North/West recovered a fumble at the Longhorns’ 35. Dylan Carden ripped off five, Gabe Goff dragged a host of red shirts 15 yards to the 15, and then Carden got into the end zone with 10:36 left. But then he was slammed into the fence afterwards and was done for the night (knee). Earlier, one of the red shirts had been shaken up after being slammed into the stairs leading up to the press box. Koch ran in the extra points to make it 22-18 with 10:36 left.

Platte Valley would drive from their own 15 to the Muskets’ 37, looking to retake the lead. But this time, a bad snap killed the drive and North/West got the ball back in good field position at their own 33. This time, North/West only needed one play to score as Jordan Murphy got sucked in on a sweep by Korbin Koch and he was off to the races for a 47 yard run with 5:32 left to make it 28-18.

Murphy, who had hurt North/West defensively, was done for the night and from there on out, North/West had no trouble moving the ball when they needed to.

Platte Valley finally got on the board; Dalton Luke should have been stopped for no gain on one play, but he broke tackle after tackle for 21 yards to the 36; two plays later, O’Connor aired it out again to Clayton Wilmes for 40 yards to the 3. There was a heartstopping moment as Koch was shaken up tackling him, but he recovered in time to lead the offense again. The tackling broke down again on Luke as he scored on the next play and nobody covered Wilmes, who caught a pass to make it 28-26.

But then North/West recovered and put together a nice long drive as they showed they could still move the ball without Carden in there. They penetrated as far as the Longhorns 31 before a fumble and a false start move them back to the 39. Faced with third and 18 at the 40, Koch took the ball down the left side and got two big blocks. He was seemingly stopped short of the first down, but then he reversed his field, found a wall of blockers down the right side of the field, and took off untouched for a score with 11:10 left in the game. It was the kind of play Dante Hall made all the time when he played for the Chiefs. Koch’s pass to Bix made it 36-26.

Once again, Dalton Luke carried the load for Platte Valley, and then started with good field position on their own 38 and marched right down the field to make it 36-34 with 6:47 left as Luke scored from 7 yards out and ran in the extra points.

There was a heartstopping moment as the ensuing kick was drilled off Tyler Blay; had Platte Valley recovered, they would have had a chance to take the lead. But Tyler Bix covered it and ran it back to their own 27. Gabe Goff bounced outside for 12 to the 39; a fumbled snap was fallen on by Koch and he bounced outside for 12 to the 28. Nobody blocked Bryson Roush on the next two plays as North/West went back to the 33 for third and 15, but then Koch scrambled for 10 to the 23 for fourth and five. North/West set up a spread draw and Koch found nothing but daylight after getting past the first level with 3:24 left.

Against Stewartsville, North/West had a chance to go up 10 and were denied in the fourth quarter; the Cardinals came back and won in double overtime. But this time, Koch rolled out to his left and threw back over to his right and Karson Oberhauser made the catch for the game-clinching extra points to make it 44-34.

Platte Valley still had a chance with a score and onsides kick, and a quick hitter to Arthur Giffin got them a first down at the Musket 37. But two plays later, Koch got a pick at the 25 with 1:56 left. Koch’s bootleg with 1:18 left picked up a first down and finally, they could kneel down for the win.

Koch had done well for the Muskets, but the one player who was singled out for praise by coach Cody Marriott, who was doused after his first coaching victory, was Gabe Goff. “He’s one of the most coachable kids I’ve ever had,” he said about his freshman blocking back. “He ran extremely hard, threw some great lead blocks, and did everything we asked him to do. He’s really grown up the last few weeks.” The stocky freshman was shooting up the charts in the weight room last year, and now, it is starting to pay off on the field.

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