While they reveled in the moment — the requisite sprint to the front row of bleachers for high fives and hugs, the band accompaniment for the alma mater in the end zone, the jubilant call-and-response chants in the postgame huddle — don’t be fooled.
This was all new for these Park Hill Trojans, who claimed an undefeated regular season and the Suburban Conference Red championship on Senior Night after defeating visiting Truman 42-7 on Friday.
And they’re not ready for the run to end.
“It’s special,” senior receiver Jeremiah Benson said. “We’re on a journey right now and we’re taking it one week at a time. Every week we’re planning to go 1-0.”
Benson scored three touchdowns — a 5-yard reception from Tyler Holmes, a 42-yard punt return and a 30-yard run from the wildcat — to help the Trojans, who have won each of their nine games by double digits after consecutive 3-6 seasons.
“I’m speechless right now,” said Benson, who accounted for 123 all-purpose yards in six touches. “I never thought of going 9-0.”
The Trojans wasted no time in taking control.
Kentrez Bell took Holmes’ pass 53 yards for a touchdown on the third play of the game. On Park Hill’s next possession, Matt Harris scored on a 12-yard run on the third play after a partially blocked punt gave the Trojans the short field.
“I thought we would come out a little better than we did,” said coach Gregg Webb, whose Patriots, 5-4, wrote their own redemption story by playing for the conference title a year after going 0-10. “We’re immature still and we’re a little unsure about big games.”
The Trojans made it three touchdowns in three possessions when running back Kenyatte Harris made it 20-0 with 3:04 left in the quarter on a 10-yard run.
That scoring drive was Harris’ first since missing the previous four games with an injury.
His first run, a pitch to the outside, resulted in an eight-yard loss. It was a short-lived hiccup for one of the Trojans’ senior leaders. Six plays later, Harris got another chance, first with a 5-yard run that moved Park Hill inside the Truman 10. His next one went to the end zone, parting would-be tacklers along the way.
“It felt good to get back into the end zone,” said Harris, who scored 11 touchdowns in his five games before injury. “That’s where this team lives.”
With the game already out of reach, Harris wasn’t needed much more. He ran six times for 30 yards and didn’t play after halftime.
But he was among the most active in the postgame huddle, eliciting a chanted chorus of “boom” from his teammates.
“I didn’t imagine this it, but it happened.” Harris said. “We worked so hard since last November to be perfect and we made it happen.”
Then he joined the rest of his team as they hustled out of the stadium, already thinking about next week.