Pleasant Hill had lost three straight and five of six games entering the first round of the Class 3, District 7 playoffs Oct. 20 against Boonville.
Who needs momentum? The fourth-seeded Roosters ran right past the visiting Pirates 43-7 and into the second round.
Pleasant Hill (4-6) had been outscored 117-34 by its last three opponents — Harrisonville, Odessa and Excelsior Springs — but the Roosters didn’t play like a team without confidence against fifth-seeded Boonville (5-5).
“The kids really rebounded,” Pleasant Hill coach Greg Smith said. “A lot of high school-age kids on a football team, they go through a three-game skid like we did, it’s easy for them to think, ‘Woe is me’ or ‘The season is a lost cause.’ But our kids bought in and they believed in what we were selling them, and it showed tonight. Without that attitude and that work ethic, tonight’s result may have been different.”
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Garrett Schick, who rushed for 151 yards on 12 carries with a touchdown, and Cody Faust, who had 129 yards and two scores on 14 touches, led the way.
“I think coach says it the best,” Faust said. “I think we’re back to playing our Rooster football way that we know how to play. I think we just got out of sync for a couple of weeks.”
On the other side of the ball, the defense recovered three fumbles and intercepted Pirates quarterback Kole Ficken twice.
Schick blocked a punt, providing a special teams contribution.
“We had our best week of practice of the season this week,” Smith said. “The offensive line — kudos to those guys, because without all the holes they were opening up, we wouldn’t have had that kind of output. Garrett Schick and Cody Faust both had an incredible night. They were hitting the holes hard and, when they got to the second level, they were making guys miss.”
The passing game actually struck first for Pleasant Hill.
Quarterback Blake Atkins scorched Boonville’s secondary for a 39-yard touchdown down the middle to Wyatt Bramwell midway through the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.
After an interception by Schick, the Rooster’s mettle was tesed when Atkins immediately return the favor.
Two plays later, David Shanks recovered the second Pirates’ fumble of the first quarter, setting up Pleasant Hill at its own 45-yard line.
“Our defense played lights out tonight,” Smith said. “We knew coming in that they were a physical team that liked to run the ball, and we had to answer the challenge. And our kids absolutely did.”
Atkins atoned with an 11-yard touchdown run on the ensuing drive before Tramell Coleman returned the kickoff for a touchdown to pull Boonville within 14-7.
After that, the game belonged to the Roosters, who stopped the Pirates on four of seven fourth-down attempts.
Atkins, who finished 8 of 14 for 154 yards, connected with Brayden Smith for his second passing touchdown, which had Pleasant Hill in front 20-7 at halftime.
Coming out of the break, the Roosters never let up.
Faust broke free for a 42-yard scamper that set up his first touchdown a few plays later for a 30-7 lead.
It was Schick’s turn on the next drive as he busted out of the pack for a 64-yard gain that led to Faust’s second TD. Schick then capped the game with a 13-yard touchdown.
Now, Pleasant Hill awaits the winner of undefeated No. 1 seed Hogan Prep and No. 8 seed Oak Grove, who were scheduled to play at 1 p.m. on Oct. 21.