It took three overtimes, but Ray-Pec outlasts Park Hill by a field goal in Friday clash

·3 min read

A couple of minutes after Raymore-Peculiar’s thrilling 43-40 triple-overtime road victory over Park Hill Friday night at Preston Field, teammates gathered around placekicker Trey Kudron and chanted Trey, Trey, Trey!

“It was amazing,” Kudron said. “I never had anyone chant my name like that. I thought I was just a kicker.”

All this kicker did was nail a 23-yard field goal in the third overtime to seal the win for the Panthers in a game that saw a fierce comeback by Park Hill, and Park Hill even taking a lead in the first overtime.

With momentum swinging back and forth in overtime, it was going to take a clutch play by somebody to put an end to the game.

Before Kudron lined up for his kick, Park Hill called timeout. But that didn’t freeze Kudron on a chilly fall evening.

“I just had to drown out all the noise and the crowd and focus on the kick, keep my head down and punch it through the uprights,” Kudron said.

Because Kudron did exactly that, Ray-Pec heads into postseason play with a 7-2 record.

“It was crazy,” said Ray-Pec junior quarterback Zande Dombrowski, who threw five touchdown passes, including two in overtime. “It showed our character. We kept fighting and fighting and fighting even though we hit some adversity. We kept going.”

Ray-Pec held a two-touchdown lead in the third and fourth quarters, but Park Hill kept battling back.

The play that sent the game into overtime was a beautiful 32-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Kedrick Bell to junior wide receiver James Noel with 1 minute, 43 seconds left in the fourth quarter. That tied the game 27-27.

“This game gives us some momentum,” Dombrowski said. “It just shows the heart we have and what we bring to the table.”

Ray-Pec used an explosive play early in the first quarter to grab a lead and relied on another one late in the second quarter to go into halftime ahead 14-7.

The Panthers started strong, stopping Park Hill in three plays on the opening drive of the game. On the next play, junior Jaidyn Doss received the punt and burst through a hole and raced 54 yards into the end zone.

Despite the quick strike, the Trojans remained calm. They marched 77 yards in 10 plays and scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Bell to senior tight end Jake Powell, tying the game at 7 with 7:10 left in the first quarter.

For much of the rest of the first half, each team made some nice offensive plays but was unable to score. For instance, Powell caught a 50-yard pass that put the ball at Ray-Pec’s 10, but the Trojans couldn’t punch it in.

A little later, Nick Karr broke off a 50-yard run to Park Hill’s 30. The Panthers eventually moved to the 15, but like Park Hill, they didn’t put any points on the board.

The go-ahead touchdown came when Ray-Pec took over at Park Hill’s 39 with 1:39 left in the first half. The Panthers got into the end zone on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Dombrowski to junior tight end Brayden Copeland with 25 seconds left until halftime.

“I think that throw kind of settled me down,” Dombrowski said. “I was kind of nervous, but after that play I started relaxing.”

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