While the Parsons Vikings’ 2019 campaign hasn’t quite lived up to the turnaround season a year ago, the Vikings oddly enough find themselves in the exact same place they were a year ago — 1-1 in district play with three games left in the regular season and in control of their own destiny.
A week ago, Parsons fell to district-favorite Frontenac in a game where the Vikings trailed 14-13 at halftime before the Raiders ran away in the second half.
“We competed with a great team for a half,” Parsons head coach Kurt Friess said. “We were in that ballgame. But we didn’t answer the call in the second half. It just snowballed against us. That highlights our problem this year, which has been consistent physical effort for four full quarters.”
Now Parsons prepares to face its second undefeated team in as many weeks as it travels to Columbus in Week 6.
“They’re a very good football team, very well coached and very physical,” Friess said. “They’ve got really good size and they are really aggressive. Defensively, they enjoy running to the football. On offense, they’ve got a great runner at the quarterback and he can throw the ball well too.”
The Titans’ offense runs through quarterback Patrick Cassidy. A true dual-threat signal-caller, Cassidy has completed 45-of-70 pass attempts for 698 yards and 11 touchdowns with two interceptions in 2019 while also rushing for a team-high 314 yards on 39 carries.
Parsons has struggled to contain quarterbacks this fall as Iola, Anderson County and Osawatomie got the majority of their yards on runs from under center.
“We’ve got to get off blocks and run to the football,” Friess said. “That’s what we need to do.”
The Vikings had some glimmers of brilliance on offense against Frontenac. Dariq Williams had nine receptions for 153 yards and two scores, while Ethan Houk completed 18-of-33 passes for 193 yards.
However, Parsons was limited to 32 yards rushing on 12 carries, with Williams accounting for half his team’s output on the ground on two carries.
“We’ve got great athletes, so we need to get the ball to them in space,” Friess said. “But we need to run the ball a little more consistently.”
Parsons is 2-3 this season and likely need at least one more win to hope for a playoff berth. The Vikings have struggled with consistency and now face another juggernaut on the road.
“We’ve got to take care of the teams in front of us,” Friess said. “We’re in the same place we were a year ago, 1-1 in district. Now we’ve got to find a way to win at Columbus on their homecoming.”