LS North gets coach his first win
By SJ Munoz PrepsKC staff writer
Starting the season on a winning note can be huge for a team's psyche, particularly for those under new leadership.
Lee's Summit North and Park Hill South came into Friday night's season opener in similar situations as both teams entered the year with a new head coach and looking to rebound from difficult seasons in 2014.
A close battle throughout went in favor or North as their defense and power running game proved to be the difference in beating the Panthers 21-7.
"We hadn't won an opener in a long time, it was huge," Broncos head coach Jamar Mozee said. "I've asked the team to do a lot of things they weren't used to doing in the weight room and throughout the summer, they needed this. Coming into this game we thought we could run the ball and wear them down and it worked."
The respective defenses controlled the first half, however both teams were able to manufacture a score in the late stages of each of the first two quarters.
The visitors struck first as senior quarterback Nate Webb connected with junior Deion Lee for 37 yards and the first touchdown of the season at Park Hill District Stadium with just 1:08 to play in the first.
It appeared as if the Broncos would take a one-score lead into halftime, but of course the Panthers had other plans.
South broke out their 2-minute offense just before the break and evened things at seven on a 4-yard pass from Zach Suchanick to Jake Springer.
The Broncos' response came in the third as their defense came up with a big fumble recovery after they had just turned the ball over on downs. North took over at the South 31 and went back up by seven as Chase Swisher capped the scoring drive with a 9-yard TD run to make it 14-7 with 5:36 to play in the quarter.
The Broncos held the lead into the fourth before putting the game away with under four minutes to play. North stopped the Panthers on downs with 5:02 to go and just 1:36 later, Tori Hicks raced through the South defense to put the Broncos ahead 21-7, which would be the final margin of victory.
"Our defense did a great job in holding them to seven," Mozee said. "They bent a little bit, but didn't break. It was the first time since I've been here that I've seen us gut out a win and that was huge."
North (1-0) will host Winnetonka (1-0) for their home opener next Friday, while
the Panthers (0-1) will look to regroup quickly as they are on the road at Class 6, No. 10 Lee's Summit West (1-0).
"We've got to eliminate the mistakes and play more disciplined football," South head coach Mike Sharp said. "Our team has a lot of weapons and good things to build on. Unfortunately we did some things tonight that are uncharacteristic of who we are and when you do those things you lose."
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