Five of the turnovers came in the first quarter against Ruskin, and the Trojans rolled to a 61-0 lead at halftime, which ended up the final score of a lopsided Suburban Conference Red Division matchup. The short fields allowed sophomore quarterback Billy Maples — who finished with three touchdown passes on 5-for-8 accuracy and 78 yards — to lead the offense to 42 first quarter points before ceding duties to backup Parker Sampson.
For his part, Sampson kicked seven extra points — he was forced to re-kick once following an illegal substitution penalty — in the first quarter and six kickoffs before giving up some of his duties.
“It’s always nice having a short field,” Maples said. “I always like leading longer drives. They really get the team going, but I have to give a shoutout to the defense. They did great today.”
The turnovers included two interceptions, two fumbles and a blocked punt.
All of the changes in possession resulted in quick touchdowns for the Park Hill offense. Aiden Byrd even recorded a defensive touchdown, recovering the blocked punt in the end zone to push the Trojans’ lead to 21-0.
Park Hill didn’t let up during its fifth straight win, improving to 5-1 after a season-opening loss to Blue Springs South. The past two weeks featured some tense moments in wins against Liberty (20-10) and Park Hill South (29-3), but the Trojans never gave winless Ruskin a chance to even envision staying competitive.
“We kept on getting stop after stop,” Byrd said. “We got turnovers. We just kept on going hard, and we never let up. I’m really excited because it’s my first varsity touchdown. I’m ready for more now. I want a lot more.”
Ethan Smith, a freshman defensive lineman, helped preserve Park Hill’s first shutout since blanking the same Eagles in Week 2 of 2011, 29-0. Smith recorded two sacks in the game but none bigger than his play on a second and goal midway through the fourth quarter that pushed Ruskin back to the 20-yard-line.
Two failed shots at the end zone ensued and the Eagles turned the ball over on downs.
“I told the kids all week long, ‘I don’t care if we’re ahead 40-0, behind 40-0 or tied at 7; I want to not know what the score is when I turn around and look at the sideline,’” Park Hill coach Josh Hood said. “I want the kids to be enthusiastic supporters of everyone on the field. I felt like we accomplished that tonight and they keep the energy up until the final whistle. ”
Ruskin finished with 121 yards of offense including minus-23 yards rushing, just 13 came in the first quarter against Park Hill’s No. 1 defense.
Park Hill finished with 259 yards on the ground and five rushing touchdowns. Sophomore Dorian Clayton and senior Zach Neal each had two scores. Clayton added runs of 32 and 19 yards, while Neal had a 1-yard run and a 19-yard touchdown after he caught a screen pass.
Kentrez Bell and Ronnie Bell also were the receivers of Maples’ other two touchdown passes of 5 and 16 yards, respectively. Caeden Bowen (12 carries, 56 yards) and Jeremiah Acker (3 carries, 75 yards) each added scores in the second quarter to buoy the lead to 61-0 before a running clock in the second half.
“We’ve got a lot of kids who earned catches and carries throughout the week,” Hood said. “We did a good job of distributing the ball. When things got a little out of hand, we let the kids who have been putting in a lot of effort in practice get a lot of work in during the game tonight. They did a great job and I’m very proud of them.”
Park Hill remained at No. 5 in the latest Missouri Class 5 media poll, and the Trojans face a trip to Class 6 Lee’s Summit (3-3) this week. Last year, Park Hill defeated the Tigers 44-33 on the way to an unbeaten regular season behind 238 yards rushing for running back Matt Harris, a senior lost for this season to a knee injury in the preseason jamboree.
Lee’s Summit enters this year’s matchup with losses to Fort Osage, Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit West in its past four weeks.
Truman 27, Park Hill South 21
The Panthers scored the final three touchdowns but ran out of time on a comeback attempt Friday, Sept. 25 at William Chrisman High School in Independence, Mo.
In a span of less than four minutes, Park Hill South quarterback Zach Suchanick scored on a pair of 1-yard runs sandwiched around a 20-yard scoop-and-score fumble recovery for junior defensive back Dillon Thomas that helped cut a 27-0 deficit to six points. Suchanick’s first plunge came after a six-play, 65-yard drive.
Thomas recovered the fumble on the next play, and Park Hill South recovered an ensuing onside kick. The Panthers then drove down for the final points.
Truman’s Jordan Salima scored all four touchdowns for the Patriots, including a 35-yarder with 10:33 to play. He later recovered a pooch kick following Park Hill South’s final touchdown and returned it 51 yards, and Truman ran out the final 4-plus minutes in a grinding effort.
Park Hill South dropped to 0-6 with the loss (0-2 Suburban Conference Red Division). Thomas caught three of Suchanick’s six completions for 72 yards, and Emmanuel Butler added 114 yards on the ground on 15 carries in the loss.
Salima finished with 197 yards.