Pearl City -
Our Northwest Game of the Week featured the Thunder of West Carroll visiting Pearl City to square off with the EPC Wildcatz. After losing back to back home games, EPC got a big win last week to see them sit at 4-2, needing one win to become playoff eligible. Standing in their way were the Thunder, who came in with a matching 4-2 record, with both their losses coming on the road, including last week's nail biter loss in Dakota. Something had to give tonight and both teams knew it.
Tempers would rise early, well before kickoff, as a little scuffle took place after both teams took the field. The Wildcatz didn't take too kindly to West Carroll running out to the 50 yard line and jumping on the Catz logo, while possibly crossing the 50 yard by a slim margin. EPC then charged out while some shoving took place between the two teams, but coaches quickly separated ways as the boys prepared for a battle.
EPC favored early on with field position, starting their first 2 drives in West Carroll territory, but the Thunder defense came up big, forcing a turnover on downs on the first drive, and forcing EPC into a 3 and out on the second. West Carroll didn't fare much better, as their first drive ended in a 3 and out, and their second ended on a Lucas Peterson interception of a Kody Plattenberger pass.
Starting their 3rd drive from their own 20 yard line, the Thunder would go to work. Plattenberger would hit Chance Williams on back to back passes for 40 yards, quickly changing field position in favor of the Thunder. EPC did a great job early on of stopping any kind of rushing attack the Thunder tried, but Plattenberger would drop back and found an open target in Cory Simpson as they connected for a 24 yard TD pass with 21 seconds left in the first quarter. A failed 2 point try would leave the Thunder up 6-0.
West Carroll would force EPC into another 3 and out and force the Catz to punt, and the Thunder would answer again. This time they would march down the field 76 yards in 3:24 behind a big reception by Kaleb Hartman, and then another big catch by Kaleb Plattenberger, setting the Thunder up at the EPC 1 yard line, where Kody Plattenberger would punch it on a QB keeper to lift the Thunder lead to 12-0 with 7:24 left in the half. Once again the 2 point try was unsuccessful.
EPC would once again benefit from great field position, as they started their drive at the Thunder 34 yard line, but 4 plays later, the Thunder would stifle another EPC 4th down try and regain possession. This time the Thunder got it going on the ground, as Kaleb Plattenberger found a seam off the left tackle and took off on a 39 yard run. A couple runs by Kaleb Hartman found the Thunder knocking on the door again, and this time it was Kaleb Plattenberger punching it in from 2 yards out. A successful 2 point try lifted the Thunder lead to 20-0 with 4:57 to go before half.
The Catz would begin to get things going behind Jayden Kempel, as he found a hole up the middle and darted 63 yards to the end zone. The ensuing PAT kick was good, as West Carroll would take a 20-7 lead into halftime.
The second half belonged to the Thunder, as they allowed EPC to penetrate deep into Thunder territory, only to be turned away on downs by the Thunder defense. Behind a big 38 yard run by Kaleb Hartman, and a quick reception by Jacob Dunk, Kody Plattenberger would drop back and find Dunk again, this time from 18 yards out to extend the Thunder lead to 26-7, which would prove to be the final score as EPC could only threaten so far against the West Carroll defense before being turned away 2 more times.
With the win the Thunder become playoff eligible as they move to 5-2, but have a big test in defending state champ Forreston as they come to town next week. For EPC, the loss keeps them from gaining playoff eligibility, and they face anther stiff competition next week as they travel to Dakota to take on the host Indians.
On the night West Carroll was led by the Plattenberger's. Kody Plattenberger finished the night with 8-11 passing and 126 yards with 2 TD's, and also ran another TD in with 13 yards rushing on the night. Kaleb Plattenberger led the Thunder rushing attack with 16 attempts for 151 yards and 1 TD. Chance Williams hauled in 3 passes for 37 yards, while Kaleb Hartman ran the ball 19 times for 72 yards. Jacob Dunk finished the night with 2 receptions for 26 yards and 1 TD, and Cory Simpson had 1 reception for 24 yards and 1 TD. West Carroll finished with 237 yards rushing and 126 yards passing for a total of 363 yards.
EPC was led by Jayden Kempel, who quietly ran the ball 32 times for 233 yards and 1 TD. Jarod Kempel pitched in 11 carries for 47 yards. EPC finished the night with 25 yards passing and 284 yards rushing for a total of 309 yards.
West Carroll (5-2) vs Forreston (6-1) | EPC (4-3) @ Dakota (6-1)