In a game of big plays, Park Hill saved its biggest for the last.
After Park Hill South marched 80 yards in the final 3 minutes, 20 seconds to pull within one point with just 6 seconds remaining, Panther coach Mike Sharp elected to line up for a two-point conversion and the potential win.
But Park Hill senior linebacker Chester Graves stopped Panther quarterback Zach Suchanick on an option, preserving the Trojans’ 24-23 win on Friday night at Park Hill District Stadium.
“I just told them to cover the run, pass and everything possible,” Park Hill coach Josh Hood said. “Coach (John) Crutcher is really good at what he does and he had a great plan and took care of the outside, which is where we thought they were going to go on that play.”
Sharp’s decision to go for the conversion was an easy one, he said.
“We had the momentum and felt like we had a good chance to convert,” he said. “And you don’t want to think too long-term, but they’re Class 6, we’re Class 5 and you want everyone to stay healthy. It was time to try and put an end to it and, unfortunately, we didn’t get it done.”
Park Hill South took a load of momentum into halftime, turning an early 7-0 deficit into a 17-7 lead with a Stephen Personelli field goal, a touchdown pass from Suchanick to Dillon Thomas and a huge play on the final play of the half, when a 51-yard field goal attempt was blocked and returned for a touchdown.
But the Trojans responded with a pair of touchdowns, including a 22-yarder from Billy Maples to Quinton Harris on third and 15 that gave them the lead with 9:02 remaining.
“I caught it, felt someone hit me, but just kept driving my feet and got loose,” Harris said. “I knew I had to get to the end zone.”
Maples finished with 212 yards passing, 136 of which went to Harris.