Park Hill South football readies for district opener vs. NKC

Park Hill South’s postseason starts Friday, Oct. 28 with a matchup against North Kansas City (3-7) in the semifinals of the Class 5 District 7 tournament.

After receiving a first-round bye, the top-seeded Panthers will host the matchup at Park Hill District Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.

The winner advances to play either Fort Osage (4-5) or William Chrisman (8-1), the two Independence, Mo. schools set for a rematch. Fort Osage will host based off of a Week 8 win over the Bears.

Park Hill South (8-1) enters on a six-game winning streak.

After posting a 2-7 record in 2015, the Panthers surged up the state rankings to No. 5 in the final Missouri media Class 5 poll of the regular season. They went 5-0 in Suburban Conference Red Division play in the rebound season despite losing senior wide receiver defensive back Dillon Thomas to a torn ACL in a Week 4 win against St. Joseph Central.

Thomas has committed to play at Division I Northern Illinois next season.

Wide receiver Jake Springer and senior quarterback Zach Suchanick — both seniors — have been the consistent parts of Park Hill South’s offense, while seniors Emanuel Butler and Caeden Bowen have taken turns as the featured running backs. The Panthers’ defense has allowed more than 24 points just once this season.

Payton Ireland and Conner Campbell — both senior linebackers — have led the defense.

Park Hill South seeks its first appearance in a district title game under the state’s current format and first since losing to Kearney in the 2012 District 8 championship game. North Kansas City advanced out of District 7’s only first round game with a 28-25 win against Truman.