Park Hill South posted back-to-back wins for the first time in two seasons after a 52-7 thrashing of St. Joseph Central on Friday, Sept. 13 at Preston Field at Park Hill High School.
The Panthers move to 2-1 on the season and are off to a 1-0 start in the Suburban Conference Red Division play with the win over the Indians — the fifth in a row in the series.
The last time Park Hill South won two games in a row was Sept. 8 and 15, 2017 with wins against Central and Raytown.
“Any win is a great and we matched last year’s win total, but we take it week-by-week and want to go 1-0 each week,” Park Hill South coach Alan Wilmes said. “I don’t know what to expect being a first-year head coach but we had a good summer and I kind of expected something after our performance this summer.”
Matt Suchanick threw five touchdown passes as the Panthers keep rolling after beating state-ranked Platte County in Week 2.
The 52 points is the most since the Panthers scored 50 on Central in 2016 and the highest overall since posting 58 on Ruskin in 2015.
Park Hill South scored twice in the first quarter on touchdown passes by Suchanick. The senior connected with Gaige Warren for a 40-yard score with just less than 11 minutes to play and with 4:49 left, Suchanick hit Nathan Sharp for a 32-yard score.
The Panthers were driving late in the first quarter and Laron Mitchell scored on a 5-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter.
Park Hill South got two more touchdown passes from Suchanick in the quarter. Central (0-3) scored its lone touchdown between the two Panthers touchdowns, making it 35-7 at the break.
Suchanick hit Sharp for a 20-yard score, but Central’s Connor Root returned the kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown.
Park Hill South got another Suchanick-to-Warren scoring play, this one from 23 yards, to cap the first-half scoring with 2:17 left.
“Our system is predicated on what we see based on what the defense gives us,” Wilmes said of the success of the offense. “We have different option what our quarterback can do. We call what we think is advantageous to us.”
Suchanick threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Warren early in the third quarter for the final offensive touchdown. The senior quarterback threw for 277 yards, completing 17 of 23 passes. He also had a team-high 34 yards on the ground.
Warren had 10 catches for 136 yards, while Sharp had touchdowns on two of his three catches for 62 yards.
Luke Christensen intercepted Central quarterback Quentin Trotter and ran it back for a touchdown to make it 49-7 after three quarters. That was one of five turnovers by the Indians, three fumbles and two interceptions.
Michael Verhoeven booted a 36-yard field goal in the fourth to account for the final score.
The Panthers’ defense allowed a total of 15 yards of total offense to Central — 13 passing and 2 yards rushing on 26 attempts.
The chance to win three straight will be a daunting one for the Panthers.
Dating back to 2010, Park Hill South is winless against Staley in six meetings. The Falcons, a perennial power in Class 5, have ended Park Hill South’s season three times over the past six years.
Staley enters with a 3-0 mark and is ranked No. 2 in the latest Missouri Media poll.
The Falcons were a state semifinalist last year and returned a part-time starting quarterback in Dawson Parks, who filled in late last year after a starter to Loa Grace.
“They are definitely good up front and they do the little bells and whistles, the little things, right,” Wilmes said. “They have a lot of very similar looks (offensively) but they are an efficient team.”
The game will be a top-10 showdown as Park Hill South got into the poll at No. 10 this week after St. John Vianney, ranked No. 9 last week, fell out of the poll. It is the first time the Panthers have been ranked since Week 1 last year.