Park Hill’s seniors were in middle school the last time the Trojans defeated their intra-district rivals. That changed Friday with a 37-7 win against Park Hill South at Park Hill District Stadium. Park Hill South had won the previous four meetings dating back to 2011, including a sweep of regular-season and Class 5 District 8 meetings last year.
Park Hill wasted little time asserting intentions this time, taking the lead on its third offensive play. Senior quarterback Tyler Holmes found Kentrez Bell for a 48-yard touchdown strike at the 8-minute mark of the first quarter.
“Our kids did an excellent job of coming out of the locker room ready to play,” Park Hill coach Josh Hood said. “We really came out in the first half and established the tempo we wanted to play. Our defense was in attack mode all day, and our special teams dominated the field position battle. The defense and special teams put our offense in favorable field positions all night.”
Matt Harris’ punt return into Panthers’ territory set up Park Hill’s opening scoring drive. Trojans standout running back/ wide receiver Kenyatte Harris took limited snaps due to a bone bruise limiting his movement, but the senior still scored a touchdown — a 5-yard run to push the score to 13-0 late in the first quarter but finished with five carries and 28 yards.
Matt took up the starring Harris role, racking up 102 yards on the ground. His effort in relief of Kenyatte, who now has 15 total touchdowns on the season, helped Park Hill hold the ball for 27 minutes compared to Park Hill South’s 15. Hood also cited the play of freshman Dorian Clayton and junior Zach Neal for helping pick up carries Kenyatte vacated.
“Kenny is a kid who should be in every discussion for a player of the year candidate,” Hood said. “But he has his eye on a bigger prize coming in the playoffs. Fortunately, we were not in a position where we needed Kenny at that particular time. Matt is a punishing runner.”
Holmes led an efficient passing attack for Park Hill as well. His 9-for-11 line included 105 yards and three touchdown tosses – two to Bell and one to senior tight end Kyle Francis. The scoring connection with Francis came on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. Senior wide receiver David Taylor nearly returned the opening kick for a score, Park Hill South tackled him at the Panthers’ 19-yard line.
Holmes found Francis the next play to push the Trojans’ lead to 30-7.
Park Hill South’s lone score came in the second quarter — a 15-yard pass from quarterback Shaefer Schuetz to Tanner McClaran.
Park Hill, (5-0, 2-0 Suburban League Red Division) travels to Ruskin this week to face the Eagles (1-4, 0-1). Park Hill South (1-4, 0-1) hosts much-improved Truman (3-2, 3-0) at home. The Patriots’ three wins are more than the past two years combined when they compiled a 1-19 record.