The Trojans took full control on the next drive on the way to a 42-7 win against Truman. The victory gave Park Hill the Suburban League Red Division Title outright — the school’s first in football since 2009. Lee’s Summit West won four in a row after moving up to Class 5 and the Red Division from Class 4 and the White Division. The Titans are in their first year as a Class 6 school in the Suburban League’s top tier, leaving the Red Division title open for the taking.
Park Hill limped to a 3-7 finish in 2013 during an injury-riddled campaign but have been resurgent behind a dominant multi-pronged rushing attack.
“It means so much (to win the conference title),” said Park Hill senior defensive lineman Ryan Truvillion, who finished with a game-high 9½ tackles, 1½ for a loss. “We’ve been through so much these last three years. We finally made it to our final goal.”
To finish off the championship run, Park Hill (9-0) needed to knock back resurgent Truman in the regular season finale.
The Trojans took the lead on the third play — a 54-yard pass from senior quarterback Tyler Holmes to Kentrez Bell, who was alone behind the Patriots’ secondary. Park Hill forced a three-and-out and then partially blocked the ensuing punt leaving a short field.
Another three-play drive ended with the Trojans extending their lead on a 12-yard run from Matt Harris, a junior running back who tallied a rushing score for the fifth straight week after taking over more duties when senior standout Kenyatte Harris picked up a bone bruise in his right leg in Week 5 before sitting out the last month.
Kenyatte Harris returned for senior night and gain 19 yards with a touchdown in limited action.
“It’s a good feeling (to see Kenyatte back in the lineup),” said Holmes, who finished 7-for-12 for 140 yards and two touchdowns before yielding to backup Jeremiah Benson in the fourth quarter. “We did lose him temporarily. It’s great to have him back. He’s a phenomenal player. We all love him.”
Benson scored the game’s final points on a 30-yard scramble. His second-quarter receiving touchdown and third-quarter punt-return score brought his season total to seven touchdowns.
A senior wide receiver/backup quarterback also missed significant time due to injury. His three-week absence ended in Week 6 a 44-33 win against Class 6 Lee’s Summit when he scored twice — one rushing, one receiving.
“I knew we were going to score,” said Benson, who finished with 112 all-purpose yards against Truman. “We have the best o-line in the city. If we have a down play, we’re going to get right back up and execute.”
Park Hill earned the No. 1 seed in Class 5 District 8 top seed and a bye in the opening round of the bracket, set to start this week. The Trojans host the winner between No. 4 Liberty and No. 5 Park Hill South on Oct. 31. Liberty hosts the matchup Oct. 24 at Liberty High School in Liberty, Mo. — the school’s first game played on campus in recent memory.
Liberty North owns the No. 3 seed and hosts St. Joseph Central on Oct. 24 at William Jewell College — the usual split home field for Liberty’s two high schools.
Park Hill’s bye should help Kenyatte Harris’ return to full strength after the senior wore a special ankle pad to protect his injured lower leg against Truman. He began the year in contention for the Thomas A. Simone Award, given to the top high-school player in Kansas City, after the senior scored 15 touchdowns through five weeks with 990 all-purpose yards before the injury against
Park Hill South in Week 5.
St. Joseph Central 51, Park Hill South 48
The Panthers did not have have an answer for sophomore running back Israel Smith. The Central sophomore’s touchdown run with Oct. 17’s game quickly ticking toward its conclusion ended a wild back-and-forth battle at Noyes Field in St. Joseph, Mo.
Smith scored six times on the ground, racking up 170 yards on 25 carries to pace the Indians.
The final score with less-than 10-seconds remaining sealed the come-from behind victory. Park Hill South led 34-29 after the third quarter, but the Indians scored 15 unanswered to take a 44-34 lead. An 80-yard Kevin Nollett kickoff return for the Panthers ended the streak to cut into the lead.
Park Hill South scored again to take a late 48-44 lead on a touchdown pass from quarterback Schaefer Schuetz (23-for-31 overall, three touchdowns) to wide receiver Mitch Henderson.
With the loss, Park Hill South dropped to the No. 5 seed behind No. 4 seed Liberty, which beat the Panthers 21-20 head to head earlier in the season. The Bluejays were bumped up a spot despite having fewer points in the final standings on an automatic basis for when teams who have played end up next to each other in the final district standings.
Per Missouri State High School Activities Association rules, a team can only be flipped once, leaving Park Hill South ahead of No. 6 Central when district play opens.