by Jeremy Benson, GrandRiverConference.com
The Maysville Wolverines' first two games were polar opposites of each other. The scored 70 points in their opening game in a route of Plattsburg. However, in their next game, they were shutout by North Platte.
The Polo Panthers were coming off of victories against West Platte and Plattsburg. Polo was able to overcome slow starts in both. Against West Plate, they took the lead with 38.5 seconds left to win 30-26. Against Plattsburg, they were down 14-7 in the first quarter, but were able to right the ship with a strong 2nd quarter to go up 42-14 at the half.
The question marks coming into the matchup between these two teams Friday night was which teams would show up. Would it be game one or game two Maysville? Would it be the Polo team that go off to bad starts, or the one that finished well?
The game started bad for Maysville. On the opening kick, Polo decided to onside kick and they were successful. However, after a short gain on the first play, Polo's Lucas Curp fumbled on the next play. At that point, the Wolverines took over. They engineered a 66-yard touchdown drive entirely on the ground. Running Backs Spencer Pliley and Kalbe Jestes were joined by Quarterback Kris Gabbard, who all had double-digit rushing yards. Pliley scored his first of two touchdowns from 11 yards out. The 2-point conversion from Gabbard made it 8-0.
Polo was unable to answer. Their next two possessions were both a 3 and out. Maysville continued their ground game with a 50-yard drive capped by another Pliley touchdown followed by a 53-yard touchdown drive, with Jestes getting into the end zone this time. Maysville was up 22-0 with 10:44 left in the 2nd quarter.
The Panthers were able to get a little momentum going on the next drive. Maverick Gentry was 4-4 on a 65-yard touchdown drive. Tommy Ross finished the drive with a 19-yard touchdown run. There was confusion on the PAT where one official called it good and the other said it was wide right. It was called no good and Maysville led 22-6.
Polo would get back into Maysville territory right before the half, but time ran out on their drive.
It looked like the Panthers had some momentum going into the half. With them getting the ball first, they could get back into the ballgame with a score on their first drive. But unlike the prior two weeks, Polo was not able to make their comeback this week. The first drive went from bad to worse. They started with false start to make it 1st and 15. Kris Gabbard then intercepted Gentry on the very next play.
Maysville would add another touchdown late in the 3rd quarter with another Jestes run, this time from 18 yards out. The key play on this drive was a fake punt on 4th and 6 from midfield. Jestes took the snap and ran for 24 yards. He then scored two plays later. After the Gabbard 2-pt conversion, Maysville would go up 30-6.
Polo did threaten on their next drive, but too many mistakes would spell the end for the Panthers. Gentry had a 65-yard touchdown run, but a block in the back at about the 10-yard line nullified the TD. The drive ended in an interception.
Polo did not threaten again, and Maysville left Polo with a 30-6 win.
I caught up with both coaches after the game. You can hear postgame coverage below along with interviews with both coaches.
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