Park Hill South scored twice in the fourth quarter — getting fourth-down conversions from Jake Springer on both drives — and survived a last-second pass into the end zone to beat Liberty 26-19 in a Suburban Red Conference matchup Friday night at Liberty High School.
“It’s a huge win. We came out here looking to put ourselves in the driver’s seat for conference against one of the best teams in the conference,” said Springer, who also scored a second-quarter touchdown. “I’m proud of our guys for coming out two weeks in a row and (stepping up) in the fourth quarter.”
Liberty, which took a 7-0 lead on Thomas Henrichs’ 83-yard pass to Colton Haines on the first play of the second quarter, scored 12 third-quarter points to push ahead 19-14 with 3 minutes to play in the third.
But Park Hill South compiled a 13-play, 80-yard drive that was highlighted by Springer’s 10-yard sweep on a direct snap on fourth-and-3 and regained a 20-19 lead on Emanuel Butler’s 7-yard run.
The Blue Jays then went three-and-out before Park Hill South struck again. The Panthers went 63 yards on 12 plays, getting a 13-yard pass from Zach Suchanick to Springs on fourth-and 9 from the 39. Butler scored three plays later on a 15-yard run to make it 26-19 with just 1:11 to play.
“Our kids are resilient and they know we’re trying to keep the ball in our hands and out of the other team’s hands,” Park Hill South coach Mike Sharp said. “We were able to convert tonight.”
The Blue Jays put together a scoring threat in the final minute, using a 28-yard Henrichs-to-Drew Mackie pass and a pass interference call to set up a fourth-down play from the South 15 with just 3 seconds left. But Henrichs’ pass into the end zone was batted to the ground as time expired to secure the Panther win.
Park Hill South was able to hold Liberty standout back Robert Rawie under the 100-yard mark. Rawie, a 6-foot, 175-pound junior, came into the game averaging 244 yards per game.
“Our defense won the football game for us,” Sharp said. “To keep one of the best backs, statistically, in the nation, around 75 yards is a great accomplishment. We got in front of them and tackled.”