Park Hill football finishes off Truman, undefeated run through Red Division

The first title out of the way, Park Hill can now turn focus to defending another in the postseason. The Trojans won their eighth straight, beating Truman 38-16 on Friday, Oct. 16 at William Chrisman High School in Independence, Mo. behind three touchdown passes for sophomore quarterback Billy Maples. The victory marked the fifth straight in Suburban Conference Red Division play and capped off a second straight unbeaten league crown.

Truman running back Jordan Salima ran for 263 yards on 37 carries and even gave the Patriots a brief second quarter lead with the Patriots (7-2, 4-1) hoping for the upset and the Suburban Red crown.

However, an early miscue hampered Truman’s efforts. Park Hill scored on its opening possession with Maples hitting Kentrez Bell for a 55-yard score to build a 7-0 lead. After a pair of punts, Truman lost starting quarterback Dean Clemons to a dislocated elbow, and Patriots coach Gregg Webb opted to insert Salima in the wildcat formation.

Salima marched Truman down to the Park Hill 1 when senior Jonathan Gosserand came in at quarterback and lost a fumbled a snap.

On the first play of the second quarter, Park Hill senior running back Zach Neal broke free up the middle for a 90-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 lead. Salima did score the next two touchdowns — runs of 29 and 5 yards — and coupled with two successful two-point conversions, the Patriots went ahead 16-14.

Park Hill pitched a shutout from there and scored 24 unanswered with Maples doing much of the damage.

A first-year starter, Maples went 11-for-15 for 167 yards and tossed touchdown passes on back-to-back drives in the third quarter. DJ Johnson caught the first on a 14-yard fade route, and Bell, who finished with five catches for 80 yards, hauled in a 21-yarder.

Coupled with Parker Sampson’s 32-yard field goal on the Trojans’ first possession of the second half, Truman suddenly trailed 31-16. Park Hill sophomore running back Dorian Clayton provided the final margin with a 7-yard touchdown run with 1:19 to play, finishing off his 43-yard night.

Neal led the way on the ground with 100 yards on seven carries.

Park Hill finished with 167 yards passing and 163 rushing but barely outgained the Patriots, who attempted only two passes and none after the injury to Clemons. The early fumble turned out to be the only turnover for either team.

Now 8-1 with the lone loss to Class 6-ranked Blue Springs South in Week 1, Park Hill earned the No. 2 seed in the Class 5 District 8 bracket and hosts No. 7 seed Oak Park in the first round Friday, Oct. 23 at Park Hill District Stadium. The Trojans moved up one spot to No. 4 in Class 5, according to the Missouri Media poll, with No. 1 Staley (8-1) the top seed in the district.

Park Hill won the district title last year on the way to a berth in the state semifinals, ending the season with a loss to Nixa.