SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- After nine long months, Parkview's Mo Downey is just ready to hit somebody again.
"I can't wait. I can't wait until Friday night," he said.
Well, it's here. Downey is hoping to lead a tough Vikings defense tonight at Kickapoo
"We come with that attitude every day. We want to come with that mean mentality. We want to come with that mentality you're going to have to earn your points against us," said the senior cornerback.
Parkview is coming off a breakthrough season. Coach Anthony Hays led the Vikings to a school-record 8 wins last year, and the district championship game.
"We definitely have momentum from that," said Hays. "We talk about still being hungry. We talk about remembering where we came from. We talk about still having that chip on our shoulder because those are all the things that got us to that next level."
Hays, now in his third year with the Vikings, has some bodies to replace, including quarterback Landon Ruff, and running back Cole Jenkins.
"It seems like we lost more guys. But we really have more starters coming back than we lost. We've got seven guys coming back on defense. We've got 5 or 6 coming back on offense. Leading the way at quarterback is former wide receiver Anthony Gilliland.
"I enjoy wide receiver. But I enjoy quarterback way more," the senior said. "I'm glad to be able play quarterback. I mean I've been playing quarterback since I've ever been playing football."
The Vikings have a tough task in week one, taking on a Kickapoo team that's poised for a breakout year of its own.
"Kickapoo is a good football team and we're really excited to start the year off against and in-city rival," said Hays.
The Chiefs are experienced and physical on both sides of the ball and are poised for their own breakout season after finishing 6-5 last year. Offensively they feature senior QB Anthony Cooper, who's getting some Division I looks, and a stable of good running backs.
"That's what we want to do," said Downey. "We just can't wait to play some football."