The longest offensive play in program history highlighted a 19-0 win for Park Hill South in its season-opener — a dominating performance against Winnetonka spread across two days at Park Hill District Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Like most games in the area, weather forced the postponement of the latter part of the nonconference matchup, creating a unique circumstance for players to navigate. The Panthers opened up a 12-0 lead on a pair of big plays from Division I-bound wide receivers Dillon Thomas and Jake Springer in the first half before coming back to finish off the shutout.
Park Hill South won just two games a year ago and has seen a decrease in wins each season since going 7-5 in 2012.
In coach Mike Sharp’s second year, the opener proved to be a rousing success and big step toward ending that trend. The momentum started in the first quarter when senior quarterback Zach Suchanick hit Thomas on a 99-yard touchdown pass to set a record that can only be equaled and never topped.
Springer added a 48-yard punt return touchdown in the second quarter.
Scores were difficult to come by from there, but Park Hill South’s defense held Winnetonka to just 92 yards of offense on 54 plays. The Griffins were just 1-for-15 on third downs and committed a pair of turnovers.
Everett Horton led the Panthers with eight tackles (one for loss) and a sack, while Kevin Nollett had nine tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery. Connor Campbell grabbed the other fumble recovery.
Park Hill South ended up with 196 passing yards despite Suchanick completing only 7 of 17 pass attempts to go with one interception — the Panthers only turnover. Thomas and Springer each had three catches with Thomas racking up a team-high 166 yards thanks to his long touchdown catch.
Caeden Bowen, a senior running back transfer from Park Hill, ran for 57 yards and the final touchdown for Park Hill South — a 4-yarder in the fourth quarter Saturday for the game’s final points.
Seeking the first 2-0 start since 2005, Park Hill South hosts Grandview (0-1) on Friday, Aug. 26 at Park Hill District Stadium. The Bulldogs lost 36-0 to Platte County last week in a game shortened to one half.
Park Hill South and Park Hill play their annual rivalry game in Week 3, which will be nonconference this year with Park Hill in the Gold Division