Park Hill’s new-look offense did a wonderful job of hurrying up in Friday’s season opener against Raytown South.
Problem was, the Trojans just weren’t going anywhere.
That changed in the second half. Park Hill stuck to its ground game and was rewarded with a 35-7 victory at Park Hill District Stadium in the first game under new coach Josh Hood.
Park Hill scored on drives of 22 and 23 yards in grabbing control of the game in the third quarter. It was just the thing a struggling offense needed to gain some confidence.
Hood barely had a voice after the game, and was soaked — likely from a combination of the high humidity and a post-game water cooler shower.
“That was big. We kept preaching all week, ‘Finish, finish, finish.’ When we got the ball in those areas, the number one thing we had to go do was finish the job and punch it in,” Hood said.
Trojans quarterback Clay Ford scored from 10 yards out with 3:31 left in the third quarter, capping a 22-yard drive. That put Park Hill up 14-7.
Charles Leaphart scored from 12 yards out moments later, the finale to a two-play, 23-yard drive that put Park Hill up 20-7.
Ford had a 24-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. His primary duty in the second half was maintaining the Trojans’ furious tempo and letting a bevy of running backs carry the load.
“We knew we would key on rushing. It was working in the first half, and in the second half we started running down their throat,” Ford said. “The zone-reads were great. The line did great, and the defense did great holding them to seven points the whole game.”
Raytown South took a 7-6 lead into halftime despite nine penalties. The Cardinals continued that trend in the second half, often struggling to go consecutive plays without being flagged. They accumulated 18 penalties for 121 yards after three quarters.
“There was a little bit of inexperience there and it showed. Jumping offsides and doing things we don’t necessarily do,” Raytown South coach Dave Allie said. “The team that made the fewest mistakes would win, and we made a lot more mistakes than they did. So, we lost.”
Raytown South running back Glenn Pargo scored the Cardinals lone touchdown from six yards out in the first quarter.
Park Hill’s road gets tougher immediately. The Trojans travel to face powerhouse Lee’s Summit West next week.