Flyers defeat Panthers 32-6 in start of playoffs

Lindbergh High School's Tim Hamm-Bey cuts to the outside in the Flyers' 32-6 win over Mehlville Friday night at home in the first round of the Missouri Class 6, District 2 football playoffs. Stephen Glover photo

Lindbergh High School’s Tim Hamm-Bey cuts to the outside in the Flyers’ 32-6 win over Mehlville Friday night at home in the first round of the Missouri Class 6, District 2 football playoffs. Stephen Glover photo

By STEPHEN GLOVER

The Lindbergh High School Flyers knew they faced a Mehlville squad focused on knocking off one of the area’s top teams Friday night for the start of the Missouri Class 6, District 2 football playoffs.

But the Flyers (8-0, 6-0 Suburban West) took care of business and moved one step closer to the playoffs with a 32-6 win at home over the Panthers (0-8, 0-7 Suburban West).

“(You) never know with these games because you have to come in respecting your opponent,” Lindbergh head coach Tom Beauchamp said. “It makes you proud of your guys when they’re playing at that level.”

For Mehlville head coach Eric Meyer, the loss was another chapter in a frustrating season.

“Lindbergh’s a good football team that doesn’t make many mistakes on offense and we knew that going into the game,” he said. “But the good thing about the game was that our kids played hard and I thought we continued to make improvements.”

The Flyers took a 6-0 lead when quarterback Kyle Portell hit Adam Schremp for a 28-yard pass with 6:24 left in the first quarter.

“Kyle got real good protection from our offensive line and then threaded the needle to Adam and Adam was able to haul the ball in,” Beauchamp said. “It was one heck of a play.”

The Flyers extended their lead to 12-0 on a 15-yard run by Tim Hamm-Bey with 5:46 left in the first quarter. Hamm-Bey carried the ball seven times for 110 yards.

“Tim’s a very elusive runner and when we give him the ball, we expect something to happen,” Beauchamp said. “He’s done very well this season for us.”

Lindbergh increased its lead to 19-0 late in the second quarter when Hamm-Bey busted out a 40-yard touchdown run.

One of the more exciting plays of the game came with 36 seconds left in the first half when Portell connected with Will Spitzfaden on a 52-yard pass to give Lindbergh a 26-0 lead.

“Kyle ran a play-action pass and had both Spitzfadens (Will and Sam) open and ended up hitting Will for a really nice play,” Beauchamp said. “It took a lot of patience on that play.”

The Flyers were quiet for most of the third quarter until kicker Eric Schwartz nailed a 27-yard field goal with 2:01 left in the quarter. Schwartz nailed another field goal from 31 yards out with 5:49 remaining in the fourth quarter.

“Eric’s one heck of a utility player for us,” Beauchamp said. “He does a really good job of keeping up his end of the deal and I’m really proud of what he’s been able to do for us this season.”

Mehlville finally got onto the scoreboard with no time left in the game when quarterback Zach Hayes scored on a 9-yard run.

“We had Zach booting out and there was nothing open for him to throw to,” Meyer said. “So he cut back in and made it into the end zone.”

The Panthers return to action at 7 p.m. Friday when they play host to St. Louis University High (4-4, 1-3 Metro Catholic).

Lindbergh is on the road against Ritenour 1-7, 1-6 Suburban North) at 7 p.m. Friday