Round two wasn’t quite so easy, but for the second time in six days, Park Hill South defeated rival Park Hill at Preston Field.
Sure, the Panthers’ 24-3 win Thursday wasn’t as statistically dominant as that 38-0 victory to close the regular season last Friday, but it was easily enough for Park Hill South to advance to the Missouri Class 5, District 8 semifinals Wednesday at Kearney.
Park Hill South, 6-4, battled penalties (85 yards and a negated touchdown) and a prideful Trojans defense that focused on stopping the run after last week’s loss.
So the Panthers did most of their damage from the arm of senior quarterback Carson Reid and the acrobatic catches of receiver Nick Griffith.
At the goal line, Griffith handled two Park Hill defenders to grab a 4-yard touchdown pass and fight into the end zone to give the Panthers a 10-0 second-quarter lead four plays after he outleaped a defensive back to bring down a 44-yard third-down pass from Reid.
Griffith accounted for 128 yards on six catches — three of them longer than 30 yards — including a 35-yard touchdown over a shorter defender late in the third that sealed the final margin.
“(Reid and Griffith) have thrown a lot of balls together, and we liked (the defensive) matchup,” Panthers’ coach Mark Simcox said. “When (Park Hill was) doing what they were doing in the run game, we have to throw it. And we made a few plays.”
Reid completed 13 of 23 passes for 207 yards, hitting six different receivers in the process. But no one was a bigger recipient than Griffith.
“I had a good night after the past two games not having many yards,” Griffith said. “I believe in (Reid), I trust him to give me the ball and put it in the right spot.”
As in last week’s game, the Trojans, 3-7, again struggled to move down the field. In all, Park Hill accounted for 49 yards of offense and had just one non-penalty first down in the first half.
Parker Sampson’s 32-yard second-quarter field goal was set up by Chester Graves 31-yard squibbed kickoff return.
Still, Park Hill held the Panthers scoreless in the first quarter and trailed just 10-3 at halftime.
But, eventually, the big plays in the third quarter — Griffith’s long touchdown and a 64-yard touchdown run from Ronnie Bertelsmeyer (14 carries, 113 yards) — were too much.
“We’ve struggled moving the football the last few weeks and we’ve put the defense in a bad position,” Park Hill coach Josh Hood said. “We did a great job of battling in the first half, but those big plays come back to bite you.”