PHILLIPSBURG — There isn’t much that goes into a kick attempt for Phillipsburg High School senior Jonathan Hunnacutt.
After all, playing at defensive end for the Panther football team, the Kansas City area native and converted soccer player doesn’t have much time to sit on the sidelines and mull over such things.
“I just step make and make sure I’m lined up,” Hunnacutt said in a preseason interview. “Then, I just watch the ball and follow through. If I start thinking about too many other things, it won’t go well.”
That certainly was the case Friday night. During the fourth quarter of the Panthers’ dominating 51-21 win against Hoisington, the Panthers faced fourth down after a rare Hoisington stop.
Hunnacutt came on the field, lined up with the holder, took a few steps back and did a shoulder shrug — seemingly taking a deep breath. Three steps later and Hunnacutt climbed into the state’s record books. His 39-yard field goal put him at 217 kicking points for his career. He surpassed the state’s kick scoring record — previously 214 by Olathe North’s Joe Garcia.
“He’s just super consistent. He has worked and worked and worked at it,” said Phillipsburg head coach J.B. Covington. “And the footing on the field tonight was a bit treacherous.
“But, he’s just a big leg combined with a great work ethic.”
What’s more, Hunnacutt’s record-breaking boot was the finishing touches to a night where the 7-0 Panthers could do no wrong. They came out on a mission, proving there was little a solid Hoisington team could to do slow them down.
By the end of the first quarter, the visiting Cardinals had turned the ball over twice, and Phillipsburg had four long scoring plays and a 27-0 lead.
“We came out and executed really well,” Covington said. “(Quarterback) Trey (Sides) got us in some good plays with the defenses they were showing.
“He was checking into some nice stuff that worked well against them.”
Treylan Gross had TD runs of 57 and 72 yards in the first quarter, part of his four-TD night.
By the end of the second quarter, that lead grew to 41-0 on Nathan Moon and Gross touchdowns.
The defense was equally as stellar, forcing a pair of turnovers and bottling up Cardinal fullback Wyatt Pedigo, who had bulldozed teams with more than 1,000 yards and 17 TDs coming in.
“Kids just stepped up against a good team,” said Covington. “We were going to have to come out and play really well and we did that.
“We were sound all the way across.”
Pedigo did finish with 138 yards and a score, but Hoisington never mounted anything until the third quarter, when the bruiser broke free for a 32-yard score to end a long drive to start the half. The game already was well in hand, and the Phillipsburg varsity was still on the field in the second half, a rarity this season.
Gross’ big plays early led to him having a career night. He had 11 touches for 211 yards and four scores, while Cha’Ron Ellis — who scored the game’s first TD — had 10 touches for 6 yards and a score.
“We challenged them the first half to really come out and play well against a good team,” Covington said. “We kind of wanted to send a message, but it was more to ourselves than anything.”
That set the tone early, and after halftime, the night turned into just a waiting game to see if Hunnacutt would get the record — and on his birthday no less. Then the big boot delivered, putting the finishing touches on a blowout win and the Class 2A, District 8 championship.
The Panthers will close the regular season Friday at home against Minneapolis.