RIVERSIDE, Mo. — One game into the season, Park Hill South already had a statement win.
The Panthers held on for a 1-0 victory against Rockhurst, the defending Class 4 state champions, on Friday, Aug. 24, at Park Hill South High School.
The victory snaps a six-game losing streak against the Hawklets, dating back to 2012.
“We couldn’t ask for a better result, obviously, it doesn’t happen very often,” Park Hill South coach Chris Farmer said. “Obviously it is very early in the season, we know that, but it couldn’t have gone better.”
The lone goal for the Panthers came from Jacob Garza in the 28th minute, with an assist going to Moti Sarbessa.
Based on possession, Rockhurst dominated the second half. Aside from two pushes that results in shots on goals in the 42nd and 59th minute for the Panthers, the Hawklets dictated the speed of the match.
Rockhurst used a strong passing attack to try to wear the Panthers done, but all seven shots on goal were turned away by junior Cade Meek, who entered as the keeper for the final 40 minutes. Mark Allred started for Park Hill South and stopped two attempts by Rockhurst.
Rockhurst made a total of 322 passes in the contest — 180 coming in the second half.
Rockhurst’s best chance to force a tie came in the final 15 minutes, with five shots on goal. The Hawklets had shots on goal in the 69th and 70th minute and then two more in the 73rd and 74th minute.
The final chance came after a foul call — the 14th and final foul in the second half — set up a free kick from about 22 yards out, but the attempt sailed way over the goal with a minute remaining.
“As ugly as it was, that was our game plan,” Farmer said. “They are a possession team. They like to possess the ball, and get you tired and capitalize. They are a great team. We want to play smart and not wear ourselves out. We played compact and that isn’t always easy to do. We want to go forward and score goals, but we asked them to do this for the team to be successful.”
The last win for the Panthers over the Jesuit school was a 1-0 victory as well, coming on Oct. 8, 2012. The two teams would later meet in the quarterfinals and Rockhurst won that one, 2-0, to start what was the six-game losing streak.
Rockhurst, tradition wise, is among the best in the state. Over the past 16 years, the Hawklets have brought home a state trophy 14 times. In that span, they have played for the state title in eight years and won championships in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013 and last fall.
“They are the team in Kansas City,” Farmer said of Rockhurst. “You talk about your CBCs, the Chaminades, the SLUHs and Rockhurst. It is a great feeling. It is good for the boys and a great confidence booster.”
The Panthers returned to action on Tuesday, Aug. 28, playing at Lee’s Summit West. Results were not available by press time.
After that, Park Hill South will play in the Olathe Tournament on Friday and Saturday, before hosting Liberty in a Suburban Red Division matchup on Tuesday, Sept. 4.