Players who competed for the Parkville High School football team last season and athletes from Lansdowne High who were on the 2013 Vikings' squad had something in common: they went winless.
When the teams met at Lansdowne High School on Friday night, the Knights had already ended their 10-game losing streak with a season-opening 32-20 victory over Century on Sept. 4. On Sept. 12 of last season, the Vikings ended their 26-game losing streak with a 7-6 win over Kenwood.
It's Lansdowne that is winless this season, losing its second game on a fourth-quarter score. Using a number of players from last year’s unbeaten junior varsity, the Knights (2-0) broke a 14-14 tie on a touchdown with 6:41 left in the fourth quarter and held on for a 22-14 victory over the Vikings.
The go-ahead touchdown came on a 2-yard run by Derek Hayes behind center Dennis Hwangbo. That play capped a 13-play 66-yard drive.
The key plays on the drive were a 15-yard pass from quarterback Sid White to Hayes and a 27-yard deep slant to Jarius Brooks. Those 42 yards accounted for more than half the passing yards for the Knights, who rushed for 214 yards.
They were led by Brooks (88 yards, 10 carries), Hayes (61 yards, 11 attempts) and reserve quarterback Zack Fakunie (10 carries, 52 yards).
White completed 7 of 10 passes for 70 yards, but he knew the need for the winning drive that started with 1:02 left in the third quarter.
“We just had to push,” White said. “It was a sloppy win. We just had to get it together.”
First-year Parkville coach Justin Payne complimented the junior quarterback's play during a tight game after he led the junior varsity to a 9-0 record last year while the varsity went 0-10.
“Sid does a good job. He’s young. He runs the offense real well. He’s a student of the game,” Payne said. “He’s got some growing pains to get through, but he did a good job for us today.”
Lansdowne trailed 14-0 at halftime after gaining just 10 yards from scrimmage in the first half as Parkville featured strong defensive play from Ogechi Njikonye and Avery Henderson.
The Vikings got on the scoreboard on their first play of the second half when DeShaun Banks raced 73 yards for a score.
“I’m like, ‘We’ve got to bounce back so when I saw my fullback [Devin Phillips] go through the hole, I’m like, ‘It’s time,’” said Banks, who rushed for a game-high 110 yards on 11 carries.
“Right guard Phil Collins was the main reason we scored on that play,” Lansdowne coach Shaun Murphy said. “He made an amazing block and Tom Weedon made a great block at right tackle and Banks was able to waltz down to the end zone."
The extra point kick was blocked, so the Vikings trailed, 14-6. They rallied with a big defensive stop on fourth down when Lansdowne safety CJ Monroe made a clutch tackle.
Lansdowne’s Banks nearly scored on the next play, but he was ruled out of bounds after gaining 19 yards. The Vikings turned it over on downs, but got the ball back when Kennard Robinson recovered a fumble on the Parkville 21.
Three plays later, Ivan Atkinson caught a deflected pass for a 30-yard touchdown.
Banks made a flying leap with the ball dangling over the end zone on the two-point conversion to tie the score, 14-14.
“That was amazing,” Murphy said. “He was our spark this game. He’s an all-star and he played like it, and that’s been our biggest focus from last year to this year. It’s been playing with the energy necessary to be a game-changer because he is a game-changer.”
In the first half, the only game-changers were on Parkville’s side.
With 5:13 left in the first quarter, Isaiah Jones scored on a busted play.
He was hit by Lansdowne’s Monroe behind the line of scrimmage on a sweep right, but picked up the ball, reversed his field and scampered 10 yards into the end zone.
The Knights extended their 6-0 lead to 14-0 with 5:11 left in the half when Brown scored from a yard out and White completed the two-point conversion pass to Jones.
Lansdowne’s defense kept the deficit at 14 thanks to two key defensive plays in the final five minutes of the half.
Tyler Ellis forced a fumble and William Halstead recovered it to stop one Parkville drive. With the Knights driving, Banks jumped up to bat a pass in the air and intercepted it on the way down.
The senior knew his team needed something to change the momentum. “We definitely came out too flat. You can’t come out flat against a [Class] 4A team,” Banks said.
In the third quarter, it was the Knights who seemed flat, and the Vikings capitalized before the Knights regained the momentum.
“Once we settled down a little bit and got rid of the mistakes we were making in the third quarter, once that happened we were able to settle on offense and control the ball,” Payne said.
Next up for Parkville is Milford Mill on Sept. 19 at Parkville at 1 p.m. Payne was the defensive coordinator for the Millers last year.
“They are a good program and have a great coach [Reggie White],” Payne said. “I’m excited. That game has been circled on the calendar for a long time now.”
Lansdowne plays at Dundalk at 6 p.m. on Sept. 18.
Murphy would like to see the same kind of emotion the Vikings played with against Parkville in the second half for the whole game.
“I told them I am thrilled with the energy and intensity that we played with in this game, and that’s the first thing I said after the game,” Murphy said.
Despite losing the first two, Banks is optimistic as well.
“This team has too much potential,” Banks said. “From last year to this year, this team has skyrocketed — talent, speed, hitters, our passion, everything. I wouldn’t wish for a better team.”