PARSONS — It took five overtime frames, but the Parsons Vikings capped off a thrilling 54-48 season-opening victory over Iola Friday night at Marvel Park Stadium.
In this matchup of former Southeast Kansas League rivals, the Vikings rallied from 16 points down late in the fourth quarter to earn the come-from-behind win.
Coming off an 8-3 season that included a trip to the Class 3A state quarterfinals, the Vikings improved to 1-0 overall with their season-opening victory. They will remain at home on Sept. 13 when they entertain Anderson County. The Bulldogs stand at 0-1 following their 34-23 loss at Wellsville.
On the other side, it was a heartbreaking loss for Iola, which dropped to 0-1 overall. The Mustangs will make their first home appearance of the season on Sept. 13 against Wellsville.
Iola led throughout much of Friday’s contest, including a 7-0 lead early in the contest on a seven-yard touchdown run by Casen Barker and 13-0 midway through the second period followed a 15-yard scamper by Isaac Badders. The Vikings were able to get on the board before halftime, though, on a nine-yard run from Yusef Kindrick to narrow the gap to 13-6 at the intermission.
That’s where things stood until late in the third quarter when the Mustangs earned two points on a safety after a Viking snap went out of the back of the end zone.
Up 15-6 heading into the final quarter, Iola seemed ready to put things away with Zane Whitney dove into the end zone from a yard out to give the Mustangs a 22-6 edge with 7:38 to go.
Down the stretch, though, momentum shifted towards the Parsons sideline. Quarterback Ethan Houk tossed a pair of touchdown passes to Dariq Williams on throws of 28 and 45 yards. The conversions were good on both scores to even things up at 22-22 and eventually force overtime.
The teams went back and forth through four overtime periods and sent the game into a fifth extra frame tied at 48-48. The Vikings would eventually seal things as Houk once again found Williams for a touchdown, capping off the wild come-from-behind victory.
Houk finished the game 17-of-34 passing for 244 yards and the five touchdowns to Williams, who had 12 of those catches for 203 yards. As a team, the Vikings finished with 359 total yards of offense.
No individual or team statistics were available from Iola.