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Reigning Champion Bulldogs Get First Win In Shootout; Johnson Shines For Parsons

If you are a newcomer to our rowdy, notorious little corner of the state, then there are few things that you may be oblivious to. The first being that: Independence High School Head Coach, Coach Carl Boldra has been around for a very, very long time. The second thing you need to know is that (right up there with Fort Scott’s Bob Campbell) he is the most achieved, triumphant, and well respected coaches in the Southeast Kansas league. So the last, and biggest thing one may not know of is that last season’s SEK chamionship outing wouldn’t necessarily be Coach Boldra’s most impressive of the 2010 decade thus far. In the of 2010, Boldra’s Bulldogs were in fact a mere three (3) points away from a perfect regular season as they came into district play with a perfect 6-0 record before falling to Chanute 28-25 who went on to claim the district title. Indy won out and advanced to the regional championship, losing to eventual sub-state runner-up Paola.

Fast forward to Friday, September 15, 2017. We already know that Carl Boldra is a proven winner from past experiences, and Parsons Head Coach Travis Hurley on the other hand, a local hire last season whom Parsons brought in to replace Marc Svaty seemed to build the Oswego program quite well. But Hurley is young and runs a new-age, “run ‘n gun”, spread-style offense, while Boldra runs a pro-style. Which would prevail, or would the defenses take over? The first period would answer that very question in this wild SEK-League match-up.

After the opening coin toss, the hosting Viking squad had the first chance to have a go at offense, however nothing came of it. After the defenses battled it out for the greater half of the first quarter the action intensified. A bit over five (5) minutes into the game, Senior Josh Pralle broke one for forty-five (45) yards and the first score of the game. After the two-point conversion Indy took an early 8-0 lead. Parsons gave the ball back on the ensuing drive which lead to another Bulldog score. This time it was a rushing touchdown by sophomore Amauryon Farley from five (5) yards out. The two-point try was no good. The Vikings scored six on the opposite end, but Indy came right back and answered with six of their own on a another run by Amauryon Farley, but this time he ran free for fifty-two (52) yards and a score. After the two-point conversion was successful for Indy, the score stood at 22-6.

Time began to run low but the scoring did not in the first quarter. With 1:13 left in the quarter the Vikings tacked on their second score of the night by way of another run. This time junior back Patch Loadholtz ran it in from the 14-yard-line. The conversion was subsequently failed, leaving the score 22-12. Not a minute later The “Dawg Pound” responded with their redzone offense as time winded down in the first period. Sophomore Jaden McGrath punched it in from two (2) yards out and then the PAT was no good making the score 28-12. This score would hold up for the remainder of the quarter.

This writer has a strong feeling that the player and athlete to whom opened the scoring in the second quarter of the ball game last Friday will be known very well, not only in the SEK, but throughout the entire state of Kansas, and maybe even the nation from here on forward. Sophomore Quarterback Daquan Johnson (in his first start) rushed for 170 yards, passed for 372, and had seven (7) total touchdowns.

Johnson rushed for a touchdown from the twenty-eight (28) yard-line. Parsons failed on the two-point conversion, keeping the score at 28-18. The Vikings defense stopped Independence and got their offense going once more. After doing so they drove the length of the field capped off by a three (3) yard Johnson touchdown run. The PAT was no good and the score stayed at 28-24. With 1:56 left to play in the half, Indy took the ball all the way down to the one to set up a Josh Pralle score. The ‘Dogs went for two (2) and failed which made the score 34-24. The next drive came and went quite swiftly. Parsons drove their field and capped that drive with a deep pass from Johnson to Sophomore Wide Receiver Ezekiel Lyons for a late first half touchdown with 0:51 on the clock. After that last touchdown of the half, Senior all-league kicker Cody Stephens tacked on the extra point resulting in a 34-31 halftime score.

Three (3) minutes and forty-seven (47) seconds into the second half, Independence quarterback Josh Pralle handed the pigskin off to sophomore tailback Amauryon Farley, whom then took it ten (10) yards and punched it in for a score. The Bulldogs failed on the two-point conversion try. A few minutes later, on the next drive, Johnson made a huge play for The Vikings bringing them within two points, after the Cody Stephens PAT, when he took it in on a thirteen (13) yard rush. It was a small Independence lead by a score of 40-38 after this.

Parsons, Hurley, and Johnson were all rolling. Johnson had his team in this game and with some great momentum. Parsons teed up the ball for the ensuing kickoff and Stephens was set to kick it off. He sent it deep. The man who fielded it was none other than the Dawg Pound captain Josh Pralle. Stephens sent it quite deep but it was no problem for Pralle. As soon as he caught the ball he set his sights on the endzone and nothing was standing in the way between him and the goal-line. Just as it looked like The Vikings were back in business, Pralle stretched the lead.

“It was amazing. First time back there my high school career,” Independence quarterback Josh Pralle said about his kick return for a touchdown. “[It was a] huge momentum swing after a big score from them.”

Pralle had 12 rushes for 190 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also had 96 kick return yard sand 20 yards passing, resulting in 306 yards all-purpose.

“I was confident we could move the ball and score, Pralle said. “I was nervous when they would get a stop towards the end of the game because I didn’t want the guys to just fold and give in, but they did great at [lasting] until the end.”

The shootout want’t necessarily back an forth as Independence always had the advantage, but there were a lot of nervous moments in the win for the Bulldogs. The most nervous of all of them were facing off against the electrifying sophomore quarterback Daquan Johnson.

“There was no answer for him. He played the game like he was a 3 year senior ha ha. It was insane watching a sophomore playing at the caliber he played at” Said Pralle, praising his opponent respectfully. “His numbers were amazing and had nothing hang his head about. The difference was that we had 3 guys with really good numbers also and it felt good that we could reward that with a win”

The game resulted in a final score of 56-50. Independence garnered their first win of the season and improved to 1-2, while Parsons faces a third loss in-a-row and falls to 0-3. Independence will travel to face a undefeated, state playoff caliber Basehor-Linwood team team in a non-conference game. The Bobcats sit at 3-0. Parsons will play in their annual inner-county battle against Labette as they’ll travel to Altamont to play the 2-1 Labette County Grizzlies.

Jakob Luna
Jakob "Jay" Luna is a 20-year-old salesman, musician, and sports analyst born in Emporia, Kansas to an Italian father and a Hispanic mother. He graduated from Chanute High School in 2015. At the time of graduation his social media-based organization SEKFOOTBALL had already grown to have many followers all over the state of Kansas for two years. His love for sports especially football, basketball and baseball, has lasted since childhood, as he was a football player his whole life until graduating high school. He now lives in The Village, Oklahoma, a small community on the Northwest side Oklahoma City, where he works as a sale associate.
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