The Leavenworth Pioneers opened up the 2018 season with a loss to De Soto.

In the opening game for both schools in the new United Kansas Conference, De Soto capitalized on the mistakes of the Pioneers to win 42-7. 

Both teams traded turnovers early before Joseph Oplotnik ran in the first touchdown of the game with 3:26 remaining in the first quarter.

A few drives later, the Wildcats were backed up to their own goal line. 

A fumble on third down in the end zone would give Leavenworth the go-ahead score to tie the game as time expired on the first quarter.

Oplotnik and Connor Flynn would add two more scores for the Wildcats to extend the lead to 21-7 at halftime. 

The Wildcats continued their run with three more scores to close out the game.

Despite the loss, Pioneers coach Mark Littrell can take positives away from the loss.

“We are a young team,” Littrell said. “We were playing well early. We had a scheme on defense and they found a way to combat it, but they were a good team, they went 10-2 last year and have a lot of tradition. The good thing about it is we will get better.” 

Littrell said the key moving forward will be giving the young players more game experience.

The Pioneers continue the homestead to start the season next week as they host Shawnee Mission Northwest next Friday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.


Local roundup

Pleasant Ridge won their season opener on the road against Jefferson County North 30-12. The Rams host Troy next Friday.

Basehor-Linwood opened the season with a 42-6 win against Tonganoxie. The Bobcats travel to Lansing next week.

The Lansing Lions traveled to Blue Valley where they lost 37-14 to Blue Valley Southwest. Lansing will host Basehor-Linwood next Friday.