KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Park Hill South’s win streak moved to five with a relatively easy victory, and a little help put the Panthers in position for the top seed in Class 5 District 7.
After a pair of wins in top-10 matchups, Park Hill South pulled away from Lee’s Summit North early Friday, Oct. 7 at Park Hill District Stadium and held on for a 40-23 victory. Emanuel Butler did the brunt of the work on the ground for a second straight week since his full return from an early-season injury, and his touchdown run early in the third quarter all but ended Lee’s Summit North’s comeback hopes.
Coupled with William Chrisman’s upset loss to Fort Osage, Park Hill South (7-1) moved atop the district standings and now need a win Friday, Oct. 14 against Truman to lock up an unbeaten Suburban Conference Red Division title and homefield advantage in District 7 over William Chrisman (7-1).
Park Hill South won just five games combined the past two seasons before this year’s breakout.
“We have a great team, and we’re just going to keep rolling from here,” Panthers senior quarterback Zach Suchanick said. “We want the whole entire conference championship, and we don’t want to share it so we’ll be ready.”
Park Hill South did nearly all of its damage through the run game, piling up 301 yards rushing. Butler had 194 but didn’t factor in the first half scoring with dual-threat Jake Springer and Suchanick providing the touchdowns.
A 1-yarder from Suchanick and Springer’s 8-yarder opened up a 15-0 lead, and kicker Stephen Personelli’s 29-yard field goal early in the third made it 18-0.
Lee’s Summit North sandwiched a pair of big pass plays around Springer’s second touchdown run — this one a 13-yarder — and a pair of two-point conversions helped the Broncos close within 25-16 at halftime of the nonconference matchup. Despite the big plays, Park Hill South succeeded in its effort to control possession.
“We were going to try and put the game in a phone booth and try to grind it out, get as many points as we could but also eat as much of the clock as we could, and it worked,” Park Hill South second-year coach Mike Sharp said. “My hat is off to our offensive staff but also our offensive line and backs. They did a nice job of maintaining the line of scrimmage and taking care of business.”
Butler’s 17-yard run to open the scoring in the second half put the lead at three possessions after a successful two-point conversion, and Suchanick’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Sam Beuerlein gave the Panthers a 40-16 advantage with 3:02 to play in the fourth quarter. Lee’s Summit North managed one more big play — the second long touchdown pass from Caleb Aston to Missouri recruit Da’Ron Davis.
Lee’s Summit North ran for just 10 yards with Park Hill South linebacker Conner Campbell collecting six tackles and one fumble recovery. Suchanick put up 52 yards on the ground and 40 passing, while Springer ran for 35 and caught four passes for 29 more.
“I thought that we controlled the line of scrimmage very well and we showed that we are a physical football team,” Suchanick said.
Park Hill South has now won five straight since a 24-23 loss to rival Park Hill, 4 ½ of those games played without star senior Dillon Thomas.
A day prior to the game, the Northern Illinois commit underwent successful reconstructive surgery for a torn ACL suffered in a blowout of Central. The Panthers followed that up with a rout of Raytown before holding on to beat Liberty and Liberty North in successive weeks to vault into the state rankings and take control of the Red Division race.
With Chrisman’s loss, Park Hill South moved up to No. 5 in the most recent Missouri media Class 5 poll, the highest ranking of the season. The Panthers now must make sure not to overlook Truman ahead of a bye week.
Park Hill South could very well play Truman in successive games.
The 3-5 Patriots are slated to play 2-6 North Kansas City in the only first round game in the Class 5 District 7 bracket with the winner advancing to face the top seed. Fort Osage and William Chrisman would rematch in the other semifinal, assuming Park Hill South beats Truman on Friday.
“Truman is a team that is getting better every week,” Sharp said. “They’re physical and they have a huge offensive line that can move and their quarterback is going to give us some fits. Offensively, hopefully we can move the ball and control the line much like we did tonight. That’s our hope.”