Surging to victory

Jeff Stead/PrepsKC

By SJ Munoz PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: November 7, 2015 - 12:24 AM

You won't find many teams as resilient as Park Hill has been this season. The Trojans were up against it once more, this time with the district championship on the line.

No. 4 Park Hill used an 11-point third quarter before scoring 14 points in the final two minutes of the game to knock off No. 1 Staley (9-2) 27-16 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Class 5 Playoffs.

"We told the kids at halftime we've been here 100 times before and this is our half, this is what we are built to do," Park Hill head coach Josh Hood said. "The kids responded and came out in the third quarter and said we are going to win this game. That was a gutsy performance by our kids. We needed guys to make plays and they made plays.

“Fred Bouchard means the world to us as a mentor and without him we're probably not in this situation right now. Either way it was going to be bittersweet at the end. We have all the respect in the world for coach Bouchard and his staff."

Down by eight to open the second half, Park Hill moved to within five (10-5) on a Parker Sampson field goal from 44 yards out with 6:11 left in the third. The Trojans continued the comeback thanks to a fumble recovery by Seven Wilson less than one minute later.

Following a 26-yard pass from Billy Maples to Kentrez Bell, Zach Neal dove across the goal line to give the Trojans their first lead of the night (11-10). Park Hill converted a 2-point conversion to go up 13-10 at the 4:15 mark of the quarter.

Things got interesting in the fourth with Staley making a late surge.

A punt return by Micah Daniels set the Falcons up at the Park Hill 20. On third down, Falcon QB, Michael Kilpatrick, found Beau Baker behind the Trojans' defense in the end zone. The PAT was no good after a bad snap and Staley led 16-13 with less than four minutes to play.

Park Hill wasn't rattled as they went down the field in 1:53 and regained the lead (20-16) on a 16-yard scoring strike from Maples to Kentrez Bell with 2:02 left.

The Falcons had one more chance, but Liam Henry erased that chance as he picked off a pass with just 1:28 left.

Park Hill went to the ground and Neal who capped the win with his second rushing TD in the final minute.

"In the first half we weren't executing and that was the main point of this week," Maples, who threw for 122 yards and one TD, said. "The defense played a great game and they always come up big for us. We love playing quick and when we need to score we'll get something. It's an amazing win, especially for coach Hood and a lot of our coaches who came from Staley. We really wanted this win for them."

Staley scored first and never trailed in the first half as their defense set up the game's first score.

Park Hill's first drive moved into Staley territory, but the Trojans fumbled and it was recovered by the Falcons at their own 34.

Staley drove into the Park Hill red zone and came away with a field goal to lead 3-0.

The Trojans' defense would also be responsible for their first score of the game. Sampson's punt was downed at the Staley 1 and two plays later Park Hill recorded the safety, making it 3-2 with 4:40 to play in the first.

The one-point lead remained intact until late in the half.

Park Hill was flagged for offsides keeping a second-quarter Staley drive alive and after a pair of big pass plays from Kilpatrick to Roderick Criss, Falcon running back Julian Ross plunged into the end zone from 3 yards out to put the home team up 10-2.

Park Hill utilized their 2-minute offense and moved deep into Staley territory in the final minute of the half, but the drive ending without points as Daniels picked off a Maples pass at the Falcons 3.

Park Hill moves to 11-1 ahead of next week's top five battle with No. 3 Fort Osage (10-1), who the Trojans knocked out of the playoffs last season.