A fall of varying narratives took another wild turn on Friday night as the Parsons Vikings, coming off two straight lopsided losses, shutout the Baxter Springs Lions 40-0 on homecoming night to kick off district play.
The Vikings’ defense, which had been gashed through the first three weeks of the season, held the Lions to zero points for the second straight year.
“I’m happy to see us play aggressive on defense,” Parsons head coach Kurt Friess said. “Our kids attacked, ran to the football, played hard and had fun. I clearly hadn’t pushed the right buttons to get our kids to play a defense that can be successful. We really went at it hard in practice this week and upped the intensity.”
Baxter Springs only had one drive that got inside the Vikings’ red zone, and that ended with an interception in the end zone by Tanner Barcus. Parsons employed more down linemen and brought more blitzes as Parsons adjusted its scheme.
“It was 100% my fault that we didn’t play a scheme that fit our skillset,” Friess said. “I’m kicking myself for not being better. We should not have been as poor on that side of the ball as we were the previous three weeks.”
Offensively, Parsons quarterback Ethan Houk accounted for three touchdown passes while completing a variety of routes across the field.
“Ethan has played well four Friday nights in a row now,” Friess said. “He made a couple good audibles tonight that were impressive. He’s seeing the field better and getting more comfortable.”
Zeke Lyons, a senior late add-on to the Vikings’ roster, caught two of the touchdown passes from Houk from five and 77 yards out.
“As great a contributor as he’s been in the stat sheet,” Friess said of Lyons, “he’s better in the locker room and in practice. He’s got a smile on his face and works really hard. I’m happy I get to coach him.”
Vikings running back Yusef Kindrick also had a pair of scores.
“He can be a difference-maker for us,” Friess said. “We’ve got to be able to run the ball. Sometimes we haven’t been able to because of play calling, the line or execution. We need to get to where he can be a force.”
Friday night’s win provided a much-needed reset for the Vikings, who are now 2-2 overall on the season. More importantly, Parsons is 1-0 in district play with district-favorite Frontenac on the schedule next week.
“When we look at Frontenac, we’ll realize that we’ve got to be tough,” Friess said. “They’re very, very good. Our district is going to be a dogfight. There’s nothing but really good football teams left to play. It was nice to get a win, but now we’ve got to go back to work and have four good days of practice.”
The Raiders, who accounted for one of Parsons’ two regular season losses last year, are 4-0 this season and defeated Galena 27-14 in Week 4.
“Our work is cutout for ourselves,” Friess said. “They bring everybody back from a team that beat us last year. So we clearly know what’s in front of us.”
Parsons 40, Baxter Springs 0
Parsons: 0 14 13 14 — 40
Baxter: 0 0 0 0 — 0
PS: Ethan Houk 5-yd pass to Zeke Lyons, 9:53, 7-0
PS: Houk 35-yd pass to Julius Smith-Reece, 0:04, 14-0
PS: Yusef Kindrick 2-yd run, 2:56, 20-0
PS: Kindrick 8-yd run, 0:04, 27-0
PS: Houk 77-yd pass to Lyons, 7:33, 34-0
PS: Dion Sylvester 26-yd run, 0:00, 40-0