COLUMBUS — A 38-20 win for the still-undefeated Columbus Titans masks what may have been the most complete game played by the Parsons Vikings on Friday night.
Two late touchdowns swelled a deficit that stood at 25-20, with Parsons holding possession of the ball, with eight minutes left in the game.
“Our defense battled their tails off all night long,” Parsons head coach Jeff Schibi said. “Columbus might be the best team in Southeast Kansas and we went toe-to-toe with them for the entire game. They got a late run that extended the lead. But I’m proud of the way the kids battled. I feel like our team is getting better week by week.”
Ethan Houk connected with wideout Tanner Barcus for all three scores for the Vikings, including a 65-yard throw.
“We’re trying to be creative each week with our formations and play-calling,” Schibi said. “We want to catch teams off guard and mixing it up. That helps keep teams off balance. We weren’t able to run the football against Columbus. Maybe I went away from it a little early. But overall, I thought all three phases played a good game.”
While Parsons played a competitive ballgame, it still marked the second straight defeat for the Vikings after last week’s loss to Caney Valley.
“We still have so much to play for,” Schibi said. “All of us coaches are proud of the kids. They showed a lot of heart and character. That’s one thing maybe this program hasn’t had in the past. They could’ve folded up shop, but they didn’t.”
Parsons will now have a week to prepare for a do-or-die Week 8 matchup at Cherryvale.
The winner between the Vikings and Chargers will secure the fourth and final playoff berth from the district.
“That’s what October football is all about,” Schibi said. “There’s a tremendous amount of pressure on every district game. We’ll do the best we can when we head over to Montgomery County.”
Cherryvale’s lone district win, just like Parsons, came against Baxter Springs two weeks ago.
“I haven’t gotten to dive too much into film on them,” Schibi said. “But I have seen a few games. I know how tough they can play. They played tough against Columbus just like us. They’ll be a team that thinks they can beat us. It’s going to be a formidable opponent.”