South football finishes off Red Division title, prepares for bye as district No. 1 seed

Now, Park Hill South rests and awaits the results this week to see if a quick rematch awaits.

In the regular season finale, the Panthers scored five unanswered touchdowns in a 35-14 win against Truman on Friday, Oct. 14 in Independence, Mo., locking up an unbeaten Suburban Conference Red Division title and the top seed in the Class 5 District 7 bracket. They earned a bye in the opening round and await the winner of Truman and North Kansas City in a semifinal next week.

Park Hill South (8-1), which won just two games in 2015, last reached the district semifinals in 2013 and has not played in the championship game since 2012.

Winners of six straight, Park Hill South enters the postseason with the No. 5 ranking in the final Missouri media Class 5 poll of the regular season. The Panthers haven’t lost to a Class 5 opponent yet this season, the lone defeat coming Week 3 to Class 6 rival Park Hill.

The current winning streak includes five Red Division wins, most recently the blowout of Truman.

Park Hill South put up even rushing numbers with a solid passing game to overcome an early 7-0 deficit. A pair of big plays in the second quarter gave the Panthers their first lead. First, senior quarterback Zach Suchanick hit Tavin Severino on a 31-yard pass play, the first of three touchdown passes, and Emanuel Butler added a 53-yard touchdown scamper for his longest run.

A senior and Park Hill South’s leading rusher in 2015, Butler finished with 67 yards on 11 attempts in his third full game back from an early-season injury.

Suchanick connected with senior wide receiver Jake Springer on a 13-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter shortly after he produced a 35-yard run, and Butler added a 7-yard touchdown run on the next possession after Park Hill South blocked a punt. The final score for the Panthers came in the fourth quarter when Suchanick hit Sam Beuerlein.

Overall, Suchanick completed just 6 of 12 passes for 67 yards.

Springer caught two of those for 17 yards in addition to 39 yards rushing on just three attempts. Caeden Bowen, Park Hill South’s senior fullback who filled in for Butler in his absence, ran for 63 yards.

Park Hill South barely outgained Truman, which ran nearly twice as many plays.

In addition to the blocked punt, Park Hill South recovered a pair of fumbles for the only turnovers in the game, and senior linebackers Everett Horton and Conner Campbell made 14 tackles apiece. Kevin Nollet recorded a pair of tackles for loss.