King of the Pirates

Sean Kosednar/PrepsKC

By Sean Kosednar PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: September 25, 2015 - 11:25 PM

It was a matchup that would make Blackbeard proud as the Belton Pirates traveled north to take on the No. 5 ranked team in Missouri Class 4 Platte County. Belton spoiled Platte County’s homecoming and their perfect record winning 50-24.

“We needed this,” Belton head coach Todd Vaughn said. “We needed to beat a quality opponent we hadn’t don’t that yet.”

Platte County was without their primary signal caller as junior quarterback Justin Mitchell separated his shoulder during practice this week. This opened the way for senior Lloyd Lockett to step in.

Video courtesy of Time Warner Cable Sports Channel

The Pirates’ offense didn’t miss a beat to start the game with Lockett at the helm. The senior led his squad on touchdown drives on their opening two possessions. Most of the damage was done on the ground, but Lockett hooked up with senior wideout Zach Regan on a third and long to keep each drive alive.

“Everything was clicking,” Platte County head coach Bill Utz said. “Things were going well on both sides of the ball.”

The dream start for Lockett came to an end near the end of the first quarter when Belton junior defensive back CJ Christensen picked off the Lockett pass and returned the ball deep into Platte territory. Senior running back Zach Willis capped off the drive with a touchdown run to start the second quarter.

Willis was just getting started. After trading punts Willis took the hand off at Belton’s 25-yard line and darted through the line untouched. He accelerated past Platte’s secondary all the way to the end zone for a 75-yard touchdown run.

“I tell you what, for the last three weeks [Willis] has been the man,” Vaughn said. “He has got to be the guy, and he wants to be the guy for us.”

Platte County fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Belton recovered on the 10-yard line. Willis scored on the next play putting BHS up 20-14 after the extra point was blocked.

Willis punched in his fourth and final first half touchdown on fourth and goal from the one with four minutes, 42 seconds left in the half.

Locket tried to get Platte County back into the game when Platte County took over on their own 35 with under a minute left. Lockett hit senior Zach Hamilton and Regan on back to back passes moving down to the 10 yard line with only nine seconds left. After an incomplete the Platte County coaching staff elected for a field goal cutting Belton’s lead to 27-17 at the half.

Platte County received the ball to open the third quarter, and both teams were forced to punt on their first possession. Belton’s punt went off the hands of the Platte returner and BHS recovered the ball inside the red zone. Platte’s defense held Belton to a field goal.

Lockett’s struggles continued as he was pressured into another interception on the following drive. Belton took over near midfield. They proceeded to march down the field picking up a fourth down on the way. Willis took the hand off to the right side of the line and broke through the arms of the Platte County defenders and ran 25 yards to the end zone putting BHS up 36-17 after a failed two-point conversion.

“They made some adjustments that put them in a better situation against us defensively,” Utz said. “Then we killed ourselves with mistakes – turnovers and penalties. I lost count, but you can’t win when you have five turnovers.”

Near the end of the third quarter PCHS put together a solid 70 yard drive aided by multiple Belton penalties including a costly personal foul. The drive would be capped off by a two yard run by senior running back Willie Smith.

Belton’s next drive was all about the big play. First, senior quarterback Justus Shaw kept the zone read around the right side and scampered 45 yards before being drilled by the Platte defender. Not to be outdone, Willis scored his fifth touchdown on a 39-yard run two plays later.

“[Willis] is a good player for them,” Utz said. “They put him in great positions to be a good player. That makes him tough to stop.”

A promising drive by Platte County was halted after CJ Christensen hauled in his second interception of the night in the end zone.

“Turnovers were huge for us tonight,” Vaughn said. “We talked about it all week. We had been the ones giving the ball away. We knew we needed to take it away tonight.”

Belton would add a 19-yard touchdown pass from Bart Harris to Shaw with six minutes left in the game.

Belton is home to Raytown South Friday Oct. 2 while Platte County takes on Kearny.