By: Aaron Pyle
After a dominating win against Osawatomie, the Girard Trojans looked to carry that momentum into the first round of the playoffs as they faced the Parsons Vikings.
Parsons has been a dangerous team this season with a roster full of players who can really bring the speed.
The Trojans were also without junior safety Wes Jahay, who had 110 tackles for the team this season.
To open the game, the Vikings first kickoff was a surprise onside kick that was recovered by Parsons, putting their team in great field position. But the Trojan defense stood strong, coming up with a key 4th down stop to open the game.
Later in the first, senior Gage Chiartano came up with an interception, giving the Trojans life in what was becoming a defensive stalemate.
The aggressive rushing attack of seniors Chandler Humble and Kreed Curran pushed the ball downfield as it seemed they could not be contained.
But, penalties and the wet conditions played a key factor for the Trojans as neither team could get anything going offensively.
In a defensive battle, the score at halftime was 0-0.
Early in the third, Parsons quarterback, Gage Friess found the gap on 4th down, sparking a 45-yard touchdown run down the left sideline for the first score of the game.
After the touchdown in a weird turn of events, Parsons tried another onside kick, recovering this one as well and giving the ball back to the Vikings. However, the officials ruled that the Vikings player that recovered the ball stepped out of bounds beforehand which would have resulted in a re-kick. Then came a penalty flag for a sideline warning to the Parson’s coaching staff, negating the re-kick attempt and giving the ball to the Trojans with excellent field position.
This was an excellent opportunity for the Trojans. Girard pushed the ball downfield with efforts from the tandem of Humble and Curran as well as an effort from senior lineman Carter Doherty who would recover a fumble and advance the ball for another 10 yards.
Much like the first half though, the Trojans could not get anything going offensively as penalties yet again became costly for Girard.
In the fourth, Parsons pushed the ball all the way to the 8-yard line where the Trojans defense came up with a clutch fumble recovery, giving Girard yet another chance.
Girard moved the ball all the way to the 50-yard line with excellent passing from senior Ty Norris and rushing from the dangerous tandem. However, penalties again bit the Trojans and the Vikings got the ball on a 4th down stop.
The Trojans would later get the ball back with 1:15 left on the clock after a key 4th down stop of their own.
Stuck near the goal line, Girard would end up throwing an interception which ultimately sealed the game for the Vikings as they won 6-0, capturing their first playoff win in 42 years.
“Our guys played very hard… these seniors, we had two great years with them and we are going to miss them,” said Coach Neal Philpot
Girard ended their season with a record of 5-4, capturing a winning season under Coach Neal Philpot.