Park Hill South rallies to beat Liberty

Park Hill South trailed entering the fourth quarter but rallied with two touchdowns to secure a 29-21 victory on Friday, Oct. 4 at HyVee Field in Liberty.

The win evened the Panthers record at 3-3 overall and 2-2 in Suburban Conference Red Division play.

The Panthers trailed 21-16 going into the fourth after Wentric Williams III scored on a 3-yard run with 1:43 left to play in the third quarter.

That was the fourth lead change in the contest.

The Panthers engineered a 98-yard scoring drive late in the fourth quarter that gave them the lead for good.

Quarterback Matt Suchanick got credit for the touchdown, picking up a fumble in the end zone with 3:05 to play.

DEREK BIGUS/Special to the Citizen  Park Hill South’s Joe Inzenga, left, carries the ball while Liberty’s Caden Dennis (10) tries to stop him during a game on Friday, Oct. 4 in Liberty.

DEREK BIGUS/Special to the Citizen

Park Hill South’s Joe Inzenga, left, carries the ball while Liberty’s Caden Dennis (10) tries to stop him during a game on Friday, Oct. 4 in Liberty.

The two-point conversion attempt failed but Park Hill South grabbed a 22-21 lead.

Liberty had one more chance to regain the lead, but quarterback Luke Smith threw a pass that Ryan Owens stepped in front of and ran it back for a touchdown.

Suchanick threw for 309 yards, completing 20 of 35 passes. He had a 19-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Sharp early in the first quarter.

Michael Verhoeven’s 27-yard field goal pushed the lead to 10-0 for Park Hill South. Eric Avery had a 66-yard catch on the drive to set up the field goal attempt.

That scoring drive came after the Panthers’ defense made a goal-line stand and kept the Blue Jays out of the end zone at the 1-yard line.

Liberty (2-4, 2-2) got on the board with Williams’ first touchdown run from seven yards out.

The Blue Jays then flipped momentum to their side when Ryan Olivas picked up a blocked field goal attempt and ran it back 49 yards with 16 seconds left in the second quarter.

Park Hill South trailed 14-10 at the break, but quickly got things back on track in the third quarter. The Panthers received the ball and marched down the field and put points on the board when Avery hauled in a 39-yard touchdown pass from Suchanick. Avery finished with 129 yards on four catches.

The Panthers had a chance to boost the lead again but Olivas intercepted Suchanick in the end zone late in the third.

That is when Liberty answered and regained the lead on the touchdown run by Williams, coming out of a wildcat-set.

Linebacker Mike Suchanick had 17 tackles, while Cameron Gillespie notched 15 for the Panthers. Owens and Elano Alvarez had 11 tackles each.

Park Hill South will have a chance to get over the .500 mark with a home game on Friday, Oct. 11 against Truman. The Patriots are 1-5 overall, with the lone win coming against winless St. Joseph Central.

Since then, Truman has lost to William Chrisman and North Kansas City. Of the five losses, three have come against teams in the top 10 in either Class 5 or Class 6.

Park Hill South is 7-1 against Truman in recent years and have won the past three meetings.