Parkview welcomes in its third head coach in as many seasons as defensive coordinator Ben Dougherty takes over the program. The Vikings went 1-9 last season, but had one of the area’s most explosive offenses with 322 total points. On the other side, the defense gave up an Ozark Conference worst 511 points.
The key pieces of that explosive offense return this season led by one of the area’s best running backs in senior Blake Delacruz. Delacruz set the Parkview rushing record with 2,136 yards and 16 touchdowns on 299 carries last season.
He has worked hard in the offseason to perfect every part of his game.
“He could run a play perfectly and do everything perfectly right and he will always find something he can do better,” Dougherty said. “He is that type of kid that is always to try and do better for himself and his teammates. He is always looking to be a leader with how he performs on the field.”
Junior Trevor Boice returns at quarterback after starting last season and seeing playing time as a freshman. He threw for 1,940 yards and 21 touchdowns against 13 interceptions while rushing for 510 yards and seven touchdowns on 137 carries.
“He (Boice) has gotten a little bit bigger. He has always been fast. That was kind of his No. 1 trait when we started playing him as a freshman,” Dougherty said. “We have a new offensive coordinator in Andy McFarland coming in. He has done a really good job with him in terms of working on his mechanics and cleaning some things up. I think he is poised for a pretty big year. His best is yet to come. He is a talented dual-threat to quarterback.”
His top two receiving threats in seniors Jevin Huddleston and Tyrone Newburn return. Huddleston, who will also see touches out of the backfield, had 572 yards and six touchdowns on 46 catches. Newburn, who is talented at going up and getting the ball in traffic, had 39 catches for 500 yards and seven touchdowns. Shemarr Rogers will also see time at wide receiver and offers a similar skillset to Huddleston.
The line will be anchored at left tackle by three-year starter Ethan Day. Bryce Mueller (left guard), Jacob Woodiel (right guard) and Paul Feeney (right tackle) will also see time on the offensive line.
Dougherty identified senior Kenyen Keiber as the leader of the defense. The safety was third on the team with 76 tackles last season.
Zeke Huddleston returns to the middle of the defense at linebacker after leading the team with 96 tackles in his sophomore season.
Raevon Townsend, Brenton Howard and Tyler Trotter will all find time on the defense while Ja’Veo Toliver returns at defensive end after missing last year with a torn ACL.
The Vikings want to leave a distinct impression on their opponents as the rebuild this season.
“I want the other coaches to say that we are a team that does not quit regardless of what is going on in the game,” Dougherty said. “I think we have the chance to be fairly decent this year. If things don’t go the way we want them to go, I want us to not be a team that is known as one that quits. I want to be a tough and physical team.”
Overall, improvement is the big goal at Parkview this season.
“I think it will be a successful year for us if we can say that we improved from last year,” Dougherty said. “I am looking for improvement on both sides of the ball, particularly defensively. I am looking for a cleanup of mistakes on offense as far as turning the ball over and taking penalties.”
The Vikings will host Cassville, Republic and Willard for a Jamboree on Friday, Aug. 17. They will then welcome Central into the Ozark Conference with the regular season opener at home.