KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Fans were still filing into their seats Friday night at Preston Field when Lee’s Summit West took a lead not relinquished.
Running back Ryan Williams took the Titans’ first play from scrimmage 56 yards for a touchdown less than 2 minutes into a game started two hours early in an attempt to beat forecasted inclement weather and ended late in the third quarter when the rain and lightning arrived. The new No. 1 team in Missouri’s Class 6 state media poll went on to a 38-7 win in a rain-shortened game at Park Hill District Stadium. Park Hill South went three-and-out on its opening possession to set up the initial score. “It’s never a good start (to give up a run like that),” Park Hill South coach Mark Simcox said. “They’re a good team, and it’s hard to practice for the speed and the quality of athletes they have in practice. We knew it was going to be that way, so we had hoped we would play better at the beginning.” Williams’ initial burst fueled a 101-yard effort on just 12 carries. Park Hill South answered his lone touchdown with a drive into Lee’s Summit West territory before a penalty brought the Panthers back into their own half. The Titans sacked senior quarterback Schafer Schuetz on the next play, forcing a fumble — one of three on the day but the only one lost for Park Hill South. Shortly after, Lee’s Summit West quarterback Brice Kreikmeier hit Cooper Abrahamson on a 17-yard touchdown to increase the lead to 14-0. “We were able to string a few plays on offense and switch the field a little bit and not three-and-out and punt and give it right back to them,” Simcox said. “We need to be able to be more deliberate on offense -- string together some first downs, keep our defense off the field, all the things everybody wants to do. We were able to do that for about a quarter from the middle of the first to the middle of the second. If we could string that together for four quarters, we can get something going. We’re just not there yet.” Schuetz capped Park Hill South’s next drive with the Panthers’ only score — a 2-yard pass to Alfoncio Rand with 90 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Lee’s Summit West rebuilt its lead in the second quarter and went into the break with a 28-7 lead on touchdown runs of 1 and 13 yards for running back Brenner Clemmons. “For some reason, we have a tough time starting out,” said Park Hill South defensive lineman Connor Jones, who finished with two tackles for a loss and a handful of solo tackles. “I think we rebounded well after (the Williams run). We couldn’t do exactly what we wanted, but from there, it took a few more plays to score.” Park Hill South forced the Titans to punt for the first time in the third quarter and also limited a drive to a field goal. Play was stopped with 30 seconds to play in the third quarter with lightning filling the northern sky. After a delay of nearly a half an hour, administrators from the schools decided not to finish the game, citing the score and the deteriorating situation observed on radar. Park Hill South (1-1) travels to Raytown South (1-1) on Friday. The Cardinals enter off a 33-7 win against Truman this past week after losing to Class 5 No. 1-ranked Fort Osage to open the season. The two teams split their most recent matchups in the series in 2010 and 2011, but Park Hill South holds a 3-1 advantage in meetings since 2006.