The play was simple in its nature, a toss to the left side of the football field, with the ball nestling in the belly of Rockhurst junior tailback Brady McCanles.
There was nothing particularly fancy about his ensuing run down the left sideline. But he managed to reach the 2-yard line, where he was met by a pair of Park Hill defenders.
Instead of opting for a cutback move, McCanles simply drove his 182-pound frame over them, knocked over the pylon and waited for a referee to throw two arms into the air.
The manner in which the overtime touchdown unfolded — an eventual game-winning score — proved indicative of the latest Rockhurst victory, if not its entire season.
Rockhurst fought off a worthy Park Hill foe for a 21-14 overtime victory on Friday at Rockhurst in the opening round of the Missouri Class 6 playoffs.
“That was stereotypical Rockhurst football. We win, but we win ugly,” McCanles said. “This is how our team’s built to win.”
In this case, it needed a comeback just to set up the overtime — and a little luck, too.
On the final play of regulation, Park Hill senior Parker Sampson sent a potential 43-yard game-winning field goal only inches wide of the right goal post. The boot had plenty of leg.
“I will live and die with Parker Sampson,” Park Hill coach Josh Hood said. “He’s the best kicker I’ve ever known. We’ve lived a hell of a lot more than we’ve gone down with him.”
Park Hill, 6-4, still had a chance to even the score after McCanles’ touchdown. The Trojans called their own toss play on a fourth-and-1 from the 16, but running back Dorian Clayton slipped on the wet turf as he was running for the first-down marker.
A defensive stop by Rockhurst was a worthy ending, anyway. The two teams combined for only 14 points in the first three quarters before they traded touchdowns in the final four minutes.
McCanles ran for three touchdowns in the game, with his second score tying the game with 1:34 left. That answered a 1-yard touchdown run from Park Hill quarterback Billy Maples on the previous drive. Maples gave Park Hill its first lead after Devin Haney put the Trojans in Rockhurst territory with his second interception of the night.
“What you saw was us this year,” Rockhurst coach Tony Severino said. “We keep everything close.
“When the kids really needed to have it, they had it.”
It ended a tough-to-swallow season for Park HIll, its first as a member of Class 6. In all four of the Trojans’ losses this season, they held a fourth-quarter lead. They held another one on Friday.
But Rockhurst, 7-2, survived another week — on the back of McCanles.
“We just decided that we weren’t going to lose,” McCanles said. “There was no way I was going down on that last touchdown. No way.”