KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the second week in a row, Park Hill’s offense broke out early, and the Trojans maintained their late-season momentum entering postseason play.
Dorian Clayton ran for a career-high 204 yards and a touchdown in a 31-10 win against Blue Springs South on Friday, Oct. 14 at Park Hill District Stadium. Park Hill has now won three straight entering Class 6 District 4 play, and the most recent one came against the defending Class 6 state champions.
Blue Springs South (4-5) won last year’s meeting between the two teams on the season-opener, but the struggling Jaguars were unable to stop Park Hill’s running game.
“I think they all did a great job,” head coach Josh Hood said. “Our guys up front were doing a good job and we just wanted to move the chains tonight and keep things going and keep the defense off the field.”
Park Hill reached the playoffs each of the last two seasons in Class 5 but faced a new challenge this year with the move up in classification.
After alternating wins and losses for the first six weeks of the season, Park Hill started to roll late and has shown a balanced offense with an opportunistic defense. The Trojans’ win streak moved them back into the Class 6 Missouri media poll in a tie for 10th in the final regular season rankings.
Scenarios existed for Park Hill (6-3) to move up in the District 4 standings, but the Trojans remained at No. 5. They travel to No. 5-ranked Rockhurst for a premier first-round matchup.
This is believed to be the first matchup in program history between Park Hill and historical power Rockhurst.
“Honestly I told the coaching staff I didn’t want to hear about anybody that we were playing the next week because it didn’t matter who we were playing to me,” Wood said. “We’ve seen the best competition in the state of Missouri this year so we feel like every week we have another state championship caliber team coming in here. Rockhurst is a great team with an outstanding tradition, and it’s going to be another big battle for us.
“But our kids continue to work hard and focus and give great effort, and they’ll be up for the challenge.”
Park Hill’s three losses all came against Class 6 schools ranked higher in the final top 10 (No. 3 Blue Springs, No. 6 Lee’s Summit West and No. 8 Lee’s Summit).
Adding in Rockhurst, six of 10 games this season will be against teams ranked or receiving votes in the final rankings. The Trojans also beat Lawrence Free State (Kan.), which has a 5-2 record and a top-10 ranking in Kansas’ Class 6A.
Blue Springs South entered unranked and never led.
Clayton ran in from 24 yards out on the opening possession, and after a stop, Parker Sampson added a 32-yard field goal. Park Hill quarterback Billy Maples added the first of this two touchdown passes early in the second quarter — an 8-yarder to Ronnie Bell to put the Trojans’ lead back to 10 points.
Neither team scored again until the fourth quarter.
Park Hill senior Khalid Smith notched an interception to help keep Blue Springs South off the board. DJ Johnson added a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to help Park Hill pull away. The versatile threat first ran for a 59-yard touchdown, and then after a field goal for the Jaguars, Johnson added a 7-yard touchdown catch from Maples to make it 31-10.
Park Hill then executed a surprise onside kick and ran out the final 2 minutes, 20 seconds of the game for the win.