Updated: Nov 1, 2021
Prairie View quarterback Damien Kline threw for 41 yards and a touchdown against Parsons on Friday. (File photo)
In a game where the Prairie View Buffalos outgained their opponent by 100 yards and had more first downs, it was the numbers on the scoreboard that mattered most when time ran out in the fourth quarter. The Buffalos quest to make it to the Class 3A championship game ended Friday, falling to Parsons Vikings, 28-26.
Parsons scored first in the first quarter, and Prairie View answered on a 66-yard drive down to the 2-yard line. Running back Bodi Isenhower took the ball into the end zone for a Buffalo touchdown. A point-after kick by Damien Kline was good, and the score was tied at 7-7. After marching downfield on seven plays for 58 yards, the Buffalos scored again on a 7-yard pass from quarterback Kline to Kaden Walker for another touchdown. Kline kicked the ball between the uprights on the point-after attempt, and the teams were 14-14 going into the half.
But Parsons dominated the game in the third quarter, scoring on a 13-yard run and again on 23-yard pass to make the score 28-14 Parsons.
The Buffalos fought back in the fourth quarter, holding Parsons scoreless. Poised to score again on the Vikings’ 1-yard line following a 72-yard drive, a Kline handoff to Isenhower put another touchdown on the scoreboard. But the two-point conversion attempt failed, and the Vikings were up 28-20.
The Buffalos forced a punt by the Vikings, and took possession on their own 35-yard line as the clock was ticking down. Moving the ball down into the Viking territory in seven plays, Kline kept the ball, running 28 yards for a touchdown. But again the two-point conversion failed and the Buffalos were forced to settle for a 28-26 loss.
Prairie View dominated the ground game, putting up 286 yards rushing on 52 attempts compared to Parsons’ 28 yards on 25 attempts. But Parsons had 198 yards passing, completing 10 of 17, compared to 41 passing yards for the Buffalos.
The Buffalos ran 63 plays for a total of 327 yards compared to 42 plays by the Vikings for 226 yards.
Isenhower carried the ball 24 times for a net gain of 127 yards and two touchdowns. Gage Pugh carried the ball seven times for 56 total yards, and Dakota Stogsdill gained 16 net yards on four carries.
Kline gained 104 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries. He also completed six of 11 passes for 41 yards, including a touchdown pass to Walker, and was picked off once.
While Prairie View had the advantage in yards gained, Parsons controlled the ball twice as long as the Buffalos, keeping possession for about 48 minutes compared to the Buffalos’ 24 minutes.
Prairie View head coach Kyle Littrell said that Parsons’ defensive play along with a 92-yard drive to score in the first half was key to the game. Prairie View had only three possessions in the half, including one that stalled out on the Vikings’ 7.
“They made a great defensive stand,” Littrell said, adding that the Vikings were then able to put a touchdown and extra point on the scoreboard as a result.
And while the Buffalos took control of possessions in the second half, there wasn’t enough time to catch up.
“We played well on offense, and we played well against the run offense,” he said. However, the Buffalo defense gave up a lot of space against the Vikings’ passing game.
The loss gave the Buffalos record at 6-3 for the season. Seniors who have been on the team throughout their high school football career have never had a losing season, never missed being in the playoffs and had an overall record of 32-7 for those four years.
That was in stark contrast to the previous four years when the record was 11-25.
Littrell said he told the team on the bus ride home that their performance in the final game was nothing to hang their heads about.
He said the team had been through a lot this year including the death of a former teammate, injuries to key players, and playing against Class 3A powerhouses like Girard and Frontenac but being able to keep those games close until late in the game.
"We were banged up pretty good," the coach said. However, younger players stepped up and filled key positions. "The younger kids did an awesome job," he said.
"Our kids never gave up, and that's the one thing I love about coaching Prairie View kids," he said.
David Heidrick contributed to the reporting for this article.