Park Hill football rolls Kickapoo, eyes rematch with Lee's Summit

Dorian Clayton ripped off yardage in huge chunks, helping create a much-needed easy win.

Park Hill dominated from start to finish in a 57-7 dismantling of visiting Kickapoo on Friday, Oct. 20 at Park Hill District Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. Clayton, a senior running back, totaled 188 yards and three touchdowns on just 18 carries to lead the second-seeded Trojans into the Class 6 District 4 semifinals.

 LEN LEHMANN/Special to The Citizen Park Hill senior defensive back Devin Haney (center) and junior defensive back Kolby Heinerikson (right) combine on a tackle against Kickapoo in a Class 6 District 4 matchup Friday, Oct. 20 at Park Hill District Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

LEN LEHMANN/Special to The Citizen
Park Hill senior defensive back Devin Haney (center) and junior defensive back Kolby Heinerikson (right) combine on a tackle against Kickapoo in a Class 6 District 4 matchup Friday, Oct. 20 at Park Hill District Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

After losing in the first round a year ago, Park Hill took advantage of its opening matchup. Now, the Trojans prepare to face Lee’s Summit (5-5) in the second round this week after the sixth-seeded Tigers sprung a 40-26 minor upset of third-seeded Joplin.

Lee’s Summit has transformed into a run-heavy attack in recent weeks due to injuries and has won three straight, including an overtime upset of Lee’s Summit West to close the regular season that helped Park Hill take the Suburban Conference Gold Division title.

Park Hill won the first matchup this season with Lee’s Summit in an entertaining 66-35 fashion. Trojans senior quarterback Billy Maples threw a school record nine touchdowns in the game back in late August.

This time, Park Hill enters off of another impressive showing on offense in the win over Kickapoo. The Trojans ran 90 plays and gained 33 first downs despite heavily rotating in reserves late.

Maples threw for 222 yards and three touchdowns, helping Park Hill first build a 14-0 lead and then a 30-7 advantage at the break. The Trojans scored the final 43 points unanswered behind the balanced offense and a smothering defense that forced a pair of turnovers.

Ronnie Bell, Park Hill’s star senior wide receiver, returned to prominence with 13 catches, 118 yards and two touchdowns, while senior Jordan Murphy finished with three catches for 38 yards and his second touchdown of the season.

Late in the game, Park Hill senior Jack Yosel and sophomore Eric Carey also punched in rushing touchdowns with all aspects of the offense clicking.

Park Hill South juniors Kolby Heinerikson (11 tackles) and Cole Gonier (10 tackles) led the defense, while junior Donvan Bustamante and sophomore Vincent Reichert recovered fumbles. Trojans senior linebacker Brighton Ramirez made six tackles and recorded a sack, while junior Haden Wallace and senior Jarrett Ross forced fumbles.

The defense must prepare for a much different Lee’s Summit offense from the first time around.

Lee’s Summit coach Eric Thomas has abandoned his pass-heavy spread in wake of quarterback injuries, focusing on running looks. The Tigers have attempted eight passes or fewer each of the past four weeks, including an 0-for-3 showing in the upset of Lee’s Summit West.

However, Lee’s Summit ran for 253 yards against Joplin and completed 7 of 7 passes for 197 yards with three touchdowns on four catches for 152 yards for senior Mitchell Tinsley.