By JUSTIN BURKHARDT
Topeka West football coach Trey Parker’s Chargers have been fighting for their first win all season, and Friday night against Kanss City-Turner they found it, riding the legs of senior Josh Nitschke.
Nitschke led the Chargers with 271 rushing yards and four touchdowns as Topeka West rolled to a 35-15 United Kansas Conference decision over the Bears at Hummer Sports Park.
Parker picked up his first victory as a head coach Friday night.
"Hopefully, it's the first of many wins here at Topeka West,'' said Parker, in his first season as West's head coach after taking over as the Chargers' interim coach for the final three games of the 2022 campaign. "I'm glad we got it out of the way. It felt like a monkey was on our back.
"We had a tough road to this point, but we're just glad to finally be here.''
Nitschke opened the Topeka West scoring with 1 and 72-yard touchdown runs in the first quarter and also scored on 45 and 2-yard runs in the second quarter.
Junior Elijah Berg had 46 receiving yards and a 6-yard touchdown pass from Kenton Tisdale.
Topeka West, 1-5 overall and 1-5 in the UKC, led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter and outscored Turner 21-0 in the second quarter to open up a commanding 35-7 lead at the half. Nitschke also ran for two 2-point conversions.
"I think we played an immaculate first half,'' Nitschke said. "The O-line -- beautiful. Every hole I ever needed was right there.
"Overall, I had fun. That's all football's about, having fun. I think this is going to be big for us. I think we're going to improve.''
Turner, 0-6, 0-5, scored the only eight points of the second half in the fourth quarter but the Chargers were never seriously challenged.
Topeka West will travel to Shawnee Heights next Friday for a UKC matchup.
The T-Birds are 4-2 after a 12-7 win over Wamego Friday night.
TOPEKA WEST 35, KC-TURNER 15
Topeka West (1-5, 1-5) 14 21 0 0 -- 35
KC-Turner (0-6, 0-5) 7 0 0 8 -- 15
Topeka West – Nitschke 1 Run (Komma kick)
Topeka West- Nitschke 72 Run (Kick failed)
Turner- Josue Castillo 36 Run (Hamilton Kick)
Topeka West- Nitschke 45 Run (Nitschke run)
Topeka West- Berg 6 pass from Tisdale (Kick failed)
Topeka West- Nitschke 2 Run (Nitschke run)
Turner- George 7 Run (George run)