None of the players on the Parkview High School football team were born the last time the Vikings were 3-0 to start the season.
In fact, neither was their head coach.
But a responsible offense and a stingy defense have had the Vikings on the victorious side of tight scoreboards through three weeks, and in position to contend for an Ozark Conference championship.
The Vikings are also 3-0 for the first time since 1980, a fact not lost on the team members or their coach, who was born in 1982.
“I mentioned it to my team last week, and it took off from there. They were talking 1980 all week,” Parkview coach Anthony Hays said of the buildup to last week’s win against Rolla. “But I don’t think they know anything about the 80s.”
Parkview takes its streak into a 7 p.m. game tonight against Waynesville at JFK Stadium. The Tigers come to town with a 1-2 record, but the Vikings know the margin for error is still slim.
“Last week, we were favorites as well, but we’ve got to keep the ball, and we can’t turn it over,” senior quarterback Landan Ruff said. “We know it’s going to be a close game.”
Parkview was in many of its games last season, but managed just a 3-7 mark in Hays’ first season over from King City as the Vikings had an inability to finish.
Hays said one of the mantras of the offseason was the players believing they could win games down the stretch.
Another important emphasis was ball control. It’s worked, as the Vikings have not turned the ball over all season.
“Coach Hays said that’s our best offensive stat,” Ruff said.
The 6-foot-3 Ruff said it’s been easier to take care of the ball because of solid pass protection from his offensive line. Ruff said the young group has been a surprise, given the unit had just one returning starter.
Seniors Quinton Tews (right guard) and Wyatt Gann (center) are new to football, and left guard Ethan McSpadden and right tackle Greg Robinson are just sophomores. Only junior left tackle Ed Howerton returns from last season’s group.
What the line lacks in experience, it makes up for in size, though, with at least one player weighing in at more than 300 pounds.
The line has also cleared the way for senior running back Cole Jenkins, who has had a nice start to the season with 303 yards and three touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the defense has been stingy, allowing just 35 points in three games.
In part, Hays credits the new two-platoon system this year, where no player starts on both offense and defense. The coach said that’s been key down the stretch of games.
Parkview has outscored opponents 29-7 in the second half. The defense has not allowed any points in the fourth quarter.
Hays has hammered home to the players how significant preparation and execution will be week-in and week-out in the balanced OC. He said he thinks the players understand the significance of that moving forward.
As for the past, the players understand that 1980 was quite a long time ago, but the work is not nearly complete.
“We definitely grasp how significant it is, but we want to step past that and excel,” senior defensive end Devin Miller said. “But we’re going to take it one game at a time.”