The Parkview Vikings take on the Kickapoo Chiefs at JFK Stadium on Friday, August 22, 2014.
A second-quarter scoring avalanche and a big special teams play propelled Kickapoo past Parkview 28-13 Friday night at JFK Stadium.
The Chiefs claimed their first win of the season in part thanks to big contributions from Tony Grant. Grant ran the ball 16 times for 87 yards and a touchdown, returned the opening kickoff of the second half 94 yards for a touchdown and made a key interception late in the fourth quarter to seal his team’s victory.
Parkview coach Anthony Hays said Grant’s kickoff return touchdown swayed a key battle into Kickapoo’s favor.
“You can’t lose the turnover battle and you can’t lose the special teams battle Week 1, and we lost both, and that’s really the difference in the game,” Hays said.
Kickapoo scored three touchdowns in the first quarter, starting with a 15-yard pass from senior quarterback Brad Jarman to a wide open Malachi Stout in the middle of the end zone. The Chiefs recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff return, and Grant punched in a run three plays later following a 23-yard pass from Chris Lawson to Stout.
Kickapoo coach Joel Wells left JFK Stadium pleased with the play he got from his two quarterbacks.
“I thought they both played well. Brad got us off to a good start, got a couple of drives and got settled in,” Wells said. “Chris came in and played extremely well. We would have liked to have run him a little more that second half, but he hurt his ankle and we weren’t able to do that.”
Parkview trailed 21-7 before kicker Taylor Middlebrooks brought the Vikings back late in the first half with his thunderous right leg. Middlebrooks hit a 36-yard field goal with 5.4 seconds remaining in the half.
The Vikings then recovered a long onside kick, allowing Middlebrooks to successfully try a 50-yard field goal from the right hash mark.
“We let them have one there before half, we didn’t go get the onside kick and they made a nice play,” Wells said. “(Middlebrooks) has got a great leg — good kicker.”
“It definitely gave us some momentum that we really needed going into halftime,” Hays said. “It was kind of a rough first quarter, and then to end the second half and we felt like we got back within a possession.”
But Grant’s big return put Parkview down again. The Vikings mounted a 16-play drive that spanned 8:39 in the third quarter, but the drive stalled when the Chiefs’ defense stiffened at its own 2-yard line.
“We were playing multiple defenses all night trying to confuse (Parkview) a little bit,” Wells said.
Tackles for loss from Mason Pack and Tre Woodring, a false start penalty and a tackle by Jack Simpson ended Parkview’s comeback drive.
Kickapoo last season ran the table in the Ozark Conference in a 10-0 regular season. Many players graduated, leaving last year’s junior varsity squad to take the reins alongside a few key holdovers. Youth showed at times for the Chiefs.
“We’re young and we’re starting nine underclassmen on either side of the ball, so that means most of these guys had never played a varsity football game before, and for that I thought we played well. We’ll learn from it and we’ll clean a lot of things up between now and next week,” Wells said.