By Dana Harding (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Some things are simply worth the wait.
Just ask Parkview.
The Vikings captured the program’s very first Class 3 District 11 championship Wednesday evening with a thrilling, 3-2 victory over Willard.
David Camhi blasted a 30-yard direct free kick in the 69th minute to seal the win for Parkview.
The junior midfielder’s game-winner capped off a torrid second-half scoring run that featured four goals within a 12-minute stretch.
“I always tend to kick the free kicks like long shots,” Camhi said. “But I kicked it with the outside of my foot so the ball made a little bit of a curve. I was going for low corner, but first I saw that the wall was not placed well. So, I just kicked it in the middle, and the curve did the work.”
While game’s start time was moved up an hour due to the threat of heavy rain in the forecast, there was little respite to be found. What started as a light pregame mist morphed into a steady downpour by the time the second half rolled around.
Willard took advantage of the early start, notching the game’s first goal when Christopher Doyle’s blast found the back of the net in the 18th minute.
For most of the first half, the Tigers were the aggressor. Willard dominated possession and won the vast majority of 50-50 balls on the pitch.
Vikings goalkeeper Devon Rathbun spent the first half under constant fire, and as a result, Willard received a host of set piece opportunities.
Parkview head coach Shelby Stewart noticed a lack of urgency from her squad.
“In the first twenty minutes of the first half, we were getting dominated,” Stewart said. “I think they had eight corner kicks. Just not good enough, I think. All over the field, we weren’t ready.”
After a halftime trip to the locker rooms to escape the rain, the pace of the game picked up considerably.
The aforementioned four-goal blitz was kicked off when Parkview’s Collin Moore notched an equalizer on a nifty run down the right side in the 57th minute.
Three minutes later, Chance Levings blasted home a go-ahead for Parkview from the left corner of the goal box.
Not to be outdone, Willard answered with its own equalizer in just five minutes off a triple-header sequence involving Isaac Lup, Luke Christensen and Riley Young.
Willard nearly added another goal on a textbook crosser directly in front of Parkview’s goal box; however, Rathbun went fully horizontal to thwart the would-be score.
“I don’t know,” Rathbun said when asked about the play. “It was just a reaction save that happened so quick. It’s something I’ve had to do multiple times, and I was ready. It was a blessing that I got to it, because it was so slick back there. I could barely keep my traction.”
Moments later, Camhi connected on the game-winning free kick to give Parkview it’s long-awaited district title.
After the game, Stewart praised her team for making the necessary adjustments to control the second-half momentum.
“We made some minor adjustments, but I just said they’ve got to stick with it,” Stewart said. “A 1-0 hole is nothing; you can climb out of that. I told them to just stick with our game plan, work, get the ball up and the ball is going to skip through — and it did. It broke our way, and that’s how we climbed back into it.”
Willard finishes the season with a 15-8-1 record.
Tigers head coach Tim Magee talked about addressing his team after the loss.
“We played well enough to win, but we just didn’t. Give Parkview credit for doing that,” Magee said. “There’s really not many words you can say to seniors that really have put their heart and soul into the program over the last four years. For their season to come to an end that abruptly, it’s difficult.”
Next up for Parkview (13-14) is a Nov. 6 sectional round matchup against either Neosho or Webb City. Those two teams battle for the District 12 championship on Nov. 1.
Class 3 District 11 Championship: Parkview – 3, Willard – 2
18:39 Willard Christopher Doyle goal (Will Johnson assist) 1-0
57:08 Parkview Collin Miller goal (Jamal Ramadhan assist) 1-1
60:48 Parkview Chance Levings goal (Elisha Valentine assist) 1-2
65:41 Willard Riley Young goal (Luke Christensen assist) 2-2
68:45 Parkview David Camhi goal (Direct freek kick) 2-3