Park Hill South football ousted in unique road venue

Park Hill South’s season came to an end in an unusual place Oct. 24.A last-minute 42-35 loss at Liberty High School marked the first time the Blue Jays’ home field had been used in more than four decades. Liberty North hosted St. Joseph Central at Greene Stadium, the two schools’ shared home field on the campus of William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. by virtue of owning a higher seed in the Class 5 District 8 bracket.

Liberty took an early 7-0 lead before Park Hill South quarterback Shaefer Schuetz, who finished the season with 18 touchdown passes, tied the score with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Tanner McClaran, who finished the season with 646 yards on 43 grabs and five scores. The Panthers added 14 more unanswered points — a 5-yard run from Colin Farrow and a 1-yard plunge from Schuetz — to seemingly take control in a rematch of a 24-21 win for Liberty during the regular season.

Instead, Liberty found a way to the score with a late flurry before halftime.

Devon Bryant tallied a touchdown with just more than a minute left in the second quarter, and a quick three-and-out from Park Hill South took only 25 seconds off the clock. The Blue Jays marched 90 yards in 45 seconds to forge the tie — helped by two pass interference penalties before a 33-yard connection from quarterback AJ Cambric to Bryant.

Park Hill South again led in the fourth quarter at 35-27 before Liberty (3-7) scored the final 15 points. The Panthers’ record dropped to 2-5 in games decided by one score.

Park Hill South leading rusher Derrick Cook finished with two carries for 1 yard, putting him at 502 yards with nine touchdowns on the season.

Liberty hadn’t played at its high school field since 1970 but did so thanks to the automatic switch when Park Hill South finished in the No. 4 spot with Liberty at No. 5. The Blue Jays moved up based on their head-to-head win.

Teams can only be flipped once or Park Hill South could have dropped to the No. 6 seed with a regular-season finale loss to No. 6 seed St. Joseph Central.

Liberty advances to face district top-seed Park Hill on Oct. 31 at Park Hill District Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. The Trojans (9-0) earned a first-round bye after winning the Suburban League Red Division title, the school’s first conference crown since 2009.

Park Hill won the regular season meeting 38-14 between the now-Red Division foes. Liberty dropped from the Gold Division this year, coinciding with the school’s drop to Class 5 from Class 6.

Standout running back Kenyatte Harris picked up more than 300 yards in the previous matchup, his last substantial action before a bone bruise in his leg sidelined him for a month.