SPRING HILL — Down 41-12 heading into the fourth quarter, the Spring Hill Broncos nearly pulled off the upset against the No. 2 state-ranked Paola Panthers.
The Broncos recovered two onside kicks and a Panther fumble in the fourth quarter, scoring 26 points in a 41-38 thriller on senior night Friday, Sept. 11.
Before the game, Spring Hill recognized Bronco seniors John Mitchell, Jackson Rainforth, Gunnar Krull, Anthony Lakin, Keen Knittel, Evan Letellier, Brady Larson, Alex Dvorak, Elijah Flores, Cody Powell, Andre Free, Jordan Davis, Chase Wilm, Matthew Scoman, Jake Hooker, Clay Flaming, Tanner Thompson, Matt Dobson, Brandon Seeling, Denver Gardner, Richard Powell and Derek Stewart.
Spring Hill ended the third quarter with a touchdown drive and struck three times in the fourth quarter to give Paola its first test of the season.
Paola recovered a third onside kick in the quarter and ran out the clock.
The Paola Panthers scored on their first six drives, taking a commanding 41-12 lead.
Paola had a punt in the third quarter and a fumble in the fourth quarter. Spring Hill recovered two onside kicks and scored three times in the final frame to make it a game in the final minutes.
Paola running back Jovanni Blackie opened the scoring with a 7-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Garrett Williams capped a drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, making it 14-0 in the first quarter.
Blackie scored on a 75-yard touchdown run, increasing the lead to 21-0.
Spring Hill answered on an 11-yard touchdown run by quarterback Fletcher Pankey.
Williams ran for his second touchdown of the game to end a scoring drive with a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Paola back Brock Pitzer caught a pass from Williams and scored on a 25-yard touchdown. The Panthers led 34-6 at the half.
Spring Hill opened the second half with a 2-yard touchdown run by Draven Pipkin. Spring Hill was denied on the two-point conversion with a big tackle at the 3-yard line by Paola lineman Jake Karr.
Paola answered with a 36-yard touchdown run by Fletcher Aude.
The Broncos ended the third quarter on a 3-yard touchdown run by Pankey, making it 41-18.
Spring Hill recovered two onside kicks in a row, capitalizing with touchdown runs by Pipkin and Pankey to make it 41-31 in the fourth quarter.
The Broncos recovered a Paola fumble. Spring Hill took advantage, capping a drive on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Pankey to Daniel Mitchell.
Paola recovered Spring Hill’s onside kick attempt and worked on the clock to preserve the victory.
Blackie ran the ball 13 times for 201 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Paola Panthers. Aude had 19 attempts for 198 yards and one touchdown.
Williams had 13 carries for 43 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He completed four of seven passes for 71 yards and a touchdown.
Pitzer had two receptions for 35 yards with one touchdown. Bo Robison had two catches for 36 yards.
Jackson Earlywine led the Paola defense with eight tackles. Isaac Brakner made seven tackles. Layton Moore, Williams and Karr each had six tackles. Carter Stanchfield and Aude made five tackles each. Nick Walker had two tackles and an interception.
Pankey completed nine of 15 passes for 143 yards and one touchdown. He ran the ball 10 times for 66 yards and three touchdowns.
Pipkin ran the ball 11 times for 53 yards and two touchdowns. Dylan Lanzby had 19 attempts for 56 yards.
Kameron Crotchett and Zach Knowlton each had three receptions. Crotchett had 63 yards. Knowlton had 42 yards.