CHERRYVALE — Fifty-nine years since their last meeting, the Parsons Vikings claimed the fourth and final playoff berth in its Class 3A district by throttling the Cherryvale Chargers 48-14 in Week 8.
Friday night’s matchup determined who would get the final playoff berth, with the winner advancing while the loser being relegated to a consolation game in Week 9.
“It’s a pretty darn good feeling,” Parsons head coach Jeff Schibi said. “But I feel like this team has a lot more to prove. I don’t feel like we’re done yet. These guys deserve the playoffs.”
It was Parsons’ defense that shined with eight takeaways on the night, including six interceptions and two pick-sixes — one apiece from Dion Sylvester and Joey Goldsmith.
The Vikings also limited Cherryvale to 37 rushing yards, a season-best showing for a unit that’s struggled to stop the run.
“Nobody believes in our defense and we haven’t given people a chance to do that,” Schibi said. “They were able to fly around and make plays tonight. The most satisfying part of tonight was how much fun they had.”
Parsons gunslinger Ethan Houk completed 14-of-23 passes for 183 yards and three scores. Tanner Barcus had six catches for 93 yards and two scores while Sylvester had four catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns.
“We were killing ourselves with penalties early on,” Schibi said. “We started three drives with holding penalties. So it was difficult sledding for the first 15 minutes. But then we were able to unleash the ball into Tanner (Barcus) and Dion Sylvester’s hands. Like they’ve done all year, they made some plays.”
Cherryvale quarterback Jackson Knight had an up-and-down night under center in his first game back from injury. While he completed 15-of-29 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown, he also struggled with ball security and was under constant duress.
“The main thing for him is to continue improving mentally,” Cherryvale head coach Travis Young said. “He’s so competitive that he overthinks what he does. He was under pressure a lot tonight so he had to get the ball out quicker. He just wasn’t comfortable back there tonight.”
Briggs Adkison led the Chargers with six catches for 83 yards and a touchdown.
“He played really well, but Parsons had a good plan for him,” Young said. “We caught them off-guard a couple times, but they did a good job on him.”
While Cherryvale will now end its season with a consolation game in Week 9, first-year head coach Young was still positive in his takeaways from a team that shuffled its lineup prior to Friday night.
“It’s really frustrating but we had a lot of kids playing positions they hadn’t played before,” Young said. “They didn’t quit and played hard until the end. That was the most I could ask for tonight.”
Cherryvale is now 2-6 overall and finishes district play 1-4. Young said the biggest focal point for the Chargers going forward is a renewed focus in the weight room.
“This was a tough offseason. We got shutdown and had to restart,” Young said. “Things were up and down. But that commitment to working hard is where our focus is going to be at.”
As for Parsons, the Vikings are 3-5 on the year overall and 2-3 in district play. Parsons will face District No. 2 champion Burlington (7-1) in the first round of the KSHSAA 3A playoffs.
“We’re excited to keep on playing,” Schibi said. “We’re excited to have a meaningful game.”
Parsons 48, Cherryvale 14
Parsons: 13 21 14 0 — 48
Cherryvale: 0 6 8 0 — 14
PA: Ethan Houk 27-yard pass to Tanner Barcus, 7:50, 6-0
PA: Yusef Kindrick 12-yard run, 6:21, 13-0
CH: Jackson Knight 6-yard pass to Briggs Adkison, 9:00, 13-8
PA: Houk pass to Dion Sylvester, 8:23, 20-8
PA: Houk pass to Sylvester, 3:30, 26-8
PA: Houk 8-yard pass to Barcus, 0:28, 34-8
CH: Chet Linn 9-yard run, 10:10, 34-14
PA: Sylvester interception return, 3:25, 41-14
PA: Joey Goldsmith interception return, 0:49, 48-14