By Dana Harding (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Springfield, Mo. — Between senior night festivities and a shot at a No. 2 district seed, Parkview didn’t need any extra motivation for Friday’s 56-16 victory over Waynesville.
The Tigers obliged nonetheless.
Moments before kickoff with Parkview’s captains preparing to make the walk to midfield, a raucous Waynesville team raced from the locker room and swarmed the midfield area in celebration.
The gesture didn’t exactly sit well with the Vikings, particularly senior running back Blake Delacruz.
“When a visiting team comes out to the middle of your field, it’s just disrespectful,” Delacruz said. “Whenever they came out there, it kind of got us fired up and we were bickering back and forth. It just made the game even more intense.”
Delacruz responded with 157 yards on 21 carries and three touchdowns in Parkview’s first victory outside the Springfield city limits.
With wins over Kickapoo, Glendale, Hillcrest and Central this season, VIkings head coach Ben Dougherty was eager for the opportunity to finish the regular season over .500.
“For me, that’s something that I’d been hearing in the back of my mind,” Dougherty said. “People talking about how Kickapoo had been the only team in the city to beat another team outside the city. We really wanted to make sure we succeeded with that opportunity tonight.”
Pre-game antics aside, Waynesville was definitely the early aggressor.
On the game’s opening drive, the Tigers put together a nine-play, 61-yard drive capped by a one-yard touchdown rush by Aarron Emperato.
While the 7-0 lead managed to seize early momentum, Waynesville’s celebration proved to be short-lived.
Parkview not only answered Emperato’s score with one of its own — a 14-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a Delacruz three-yard touchdown run.
Delacruz attributed his success to following his blockers and making quick decisions at the line of scrimmage to counter an overly-aggressive Waynesville defense.
“Coming into the week, we knew (Waynesville) was very athletic, and we knew they send backers a lot,” Delacruz said. “The main deal was watching where the tackles and guards were kicking out and hitting that as quick as I could.”
Parkview’s offensive blitzkrieg accounted for touchdowns on all seven of its first-half possessions.
Parkview quarterback Trevor Boice threw for three touchdowns in the first half and added a fourth late in the game. The junior finished the game with 160 yards and a 6-for-9 completion rate.
Boice’s primary benefactor in the game was Tyrone Newburn.
The senior wide receiver scored three times on passes of 35, 25 and five yards and, in doing so, broke the Parkview single season touchdown reception record.
“Our guys are having confidence in each other,” Boice said. “I just have so much trust in (Newburn), and I really wanted to get him those touchdowns. I just dropped back, and everything was muted. I threw it to him and I was like, ‘Tyrone, come one — get this.’ When he got it and scored, it just made me so happy.”
Parkview’s Jevin Huddleston added two more scores, one rushing and one receiving. The senior slot back finished with 203 yards from scrimmage.
Knocked back on its heels after the first-quarter onslaught, Waynesville’s offense and special teams unit continued to sputter.
In the first half alone, the Tigers turned the ball over twice on failed fourth-down conversions and then fumbled two more times on back-to-back squib-kickoff returns.
Parkview kicker Blake George drove the ball low and hard into the Waynesville front line, allowing the Vikings a pair of opportunities to recover and operate with short fields.
With momentum on his team’s side, Dougherty didn’t hesitate.
“We felt like if we got some momentum going in this game, that we could start to run away with it a little bit,” Dougherty said. “That’s kind of what those squib kicks did. We know how dynamic and explosive our offense can be, so we knew if we could get any kind of momentum going, we were going to have a good night.”
After accounting for 56 yards on Waynesville’s opening drive, standout running back Shen Butler-Lawson spent most of the game bottled up by Parkview’s defense.
The Vikings game plan was simply to keep Butler-Lawson from running downhill, according to Dougherty.
“(Waynesville) likes to bounce their runs outside, which we felt played into our strengths as far as team speed,” Dougherty said. “We were just preaching all week to stretch plays out when they try to run side-to-side, and then just hold on and wait for the cavalry to arrive. We did a great job of running to the football, rallying to stuff and keeping their fast, speedy guys contained.”
The junior Butler-Lawson finished with 103 yards on the ground, 101 yards receiving and one touchdown — a 75-yard, fourth-quarter screen.
After the game, Dougherty talked about his team’s opportunity to host a playoff game and possibly play for a district title.
“Tonight, we finally put together that great team effort,” Dougherty said. “I couldn’t be happier, and I couldn’t be more proud. We’re really happy with the momentum we’ve got going into the playoffs and going into a bye week. We’ve still got a lot left to accomplish, and these kids know that.”
Both teams are set to enter Class 5 district play next week with first-round byes in their respective brackets. Parkview (5-4) is projected to host Nixa as the No. 2 seed in the District 6 bracket, while Waynesville (3-6) is projected to travel to Willard as the No. 3 seed in the District 5 bracket. The two Tiger squads finished the evening separated by a mere one-tenth of a point in the district standings.
District brackets will not become official until Sunday morning.
Parkview – 56, Waynesville – 16
Waynesville 7 3 0 6 — 16
Parkview 22 27 0 7 — 56
First quarter scoring
Waynesville – Aarron Emperato 1-yard TD rush (Christoffer Pederson kick)
Parkview – Blake Delacruz 3-yard TD rush (conversion failed)
Parkview – Tyrone Newburn 35-yard TD reception from Trevor Boice (Jevin Huddleston 2-point rush)
Parkview – Delacruz 29-yard TD rush (Boice 2-point rush)
Second quarter scoring
Parkview – Delacruz 29-yard TD rush (conversion failed)
Waynesville – Aaron Choi 42-yard field goal
Parkview – Huddleston 55-yard TD reception from Boice (conversion failed)
Parkview – Newburn 25-yard TD reception from Boice (Delacruz 2-point rush)
Parkview – Huddleston 21-yard TD rush (Huddleston kick)
Fourth quarter scoring
Parkview – Newburn 5-yard TD reception from Boice (George kick)
Waynesville – Shen Butler-Lawson 75-yard TD reception from Michael Lewis (conversion failed)