When Park Hill won the first coin toss of the season on Friday night, coach Josh Hood knew exactly what he wanted to do.
“We wanted to kick off the football to start the game and pin them deep. Our whole goal was to play the entire first half on that side of the field,” Hood said.
Not the most exciting of goals, perhaps, but darned if it wasn’t effective.
The Trojans kept Blue Springs South pinned down on both sides of the ball, paving the way for a 43-18 victory at Park Hill District Stadium.
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Blue Springs South constantly had to defend short fields, and on offense it had to drive the ball 70 yards just to get within field goal range.
That pressure, along with a heavy dose of Park Hill senior running back Kenyatte Harris, proved to be too much.
“This football team has done a lot of great things in the offseason, but the truth of the matter was, we hadn’t won a football game since September,” Hood said. “This game was gigantic, because it was a chance for us to come out and show ourselves where we were.”
Both teams sputtered on offense before Harris and the Trojans found their collective rhythm.
He scored the first of four touchdowns with 1:03 to play in the first quarter.
“We were hungry. A 3-7 season made us more hungry. This is a new team and we were just ready to play,” Harris said.
The Trojans proved as much when they responded immediately to Blue Springs South’s first touchdown.
Harris got the ball and ran 89 yards on the next play from scrimmage, pushing the lead to 16-6 early in the second quarter.
The Park Hill defense got a stop, and special teams put the game away.
Jeremiah Benson fielded a punt and ran behind a beautifully executed wall 57 yards to the end zone. The Trojans’ third touchdown in as many plays increased the lead to 23-6.
Harris hauled in a 22 yard touchdown pass from Tyler Holmes to finish the first half in style. His day ended midway through the third quarter with 177 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
“We’ve had some times in the past where we’ve had the lead and let teams come back. We just thought this year, ‘We’re not going to do that,’” Harris said. “It’s really good. Everyone feels good tonight, but like coach said, this isn’t the Super Bowl. We’ve got higher goals.”
Blue Springs South came into the game banged up. Head coach Greg Oder said “four or five” players had been injured at a preseason jamboree and didn’t play Friday.
Still, he knows his team needs to execute better than it did.
Adam Cofield led the Jaguars with 88 yards and a touchdown.
“We were playing better at the end. I know they were wanting to get the game over with, but it looked like we settled down. At times it looked like we haven’t practiced,” Oder said.
Park Hill had to wait nearly a year to taste victory again. Now the Trojans want a second helping.
“I told the kids before the game, we’ve been preparing for that since Thanksgiving. The kids really did a great job in the offseason, and I told them I’d let them out of their cage this evening and attack,” Hood said. “They really responded.”