By RICK PETERSON
From Day 1 after he was named head football coach at Topeka West, Trey Parker has preached positivity and emphasized that the Chargers need to appreciate each and every step they take, no matter how small.
And though it may been been hard for anyone looking at Thursday's 84-14 United Kansas Conference loss to Lansing and glean anything positive, Parker said there were bright spots the winless Chargers can take from that rout, particularly in the second half, as they move forward.
"We were down on the scoreboard, but I definitely saw that fight in the second half that I was looking for,'' Parker said. "That's what I always preach to these guys, that we know it's a long road ahead of us, but we just have to continue to fight.
"We can't give up. I tell them all the time, 'You either fight or you lay down,' and we definitely fought in that second half so I'm proud of that.''
Lansing, which improved to 3-2 overall and in the UKC, overwhelmed Topeka West, 0-5, 0-5, in the first half, scoring 30 points in the opening quarter and hitting West with a 41-point second quarter, scoring a touchdown and 2-point conversion on the final play of the first half to take a 71-6 lead to the locker room.
Topeka West's lone touchdown of the half came on a 72-yard run from senior Josh Nitschke with 2:19 left in the half, cutting the Lions' lead to 63-6.
The Lions scored in almost every way possible on the night, rushing for five touchdowns, passing for six TDs and converting five 2-point conversions.
Lansing also recovered an onsides kick early in the second quarter after going up by a 36-0 margin.
With a running clock used throughout the entire second half (45-point spread rule), Lansing scored its final two touchdowns in the third quarter to take an 84-6 lead before West's Nitschke scored his second long TD of the game on a 91-yard gallop with 8:20 remaining.
West junior quarterback Kenton Tisdale connected with junior Elijah Berg on a 2-point conversion pass to account for the final score.
Nitschke rushed for a game-high 174 yards on just six carries while Tisdale passed for 55 yards.
"We put some points on the board so that means we're actually progressing,'' Parker said. "It's a long road to other people from the outside looking in and they may not see the progression right now, but I definitely see it. We're on the right path.''
Topeka West will be back at Hummer next Friday to host winless Kansas City-Turner in a UKC contest.
West's lone win in 2022 came against the Bears.
LANSING 84, TOPEKA WEST 14
Lansing (3-2, 3-2) 30 41 13 0 -- 84
Topeka West (0-5, 0-5) 0 6 0 8 -- 14
Lansing -- Howell 5 run (Riggi run)
Lansing -- Howell 3 run (Pollard pass from Oakley)
Lansing -- Grafke 31 pass from Jorgensen (Grafke pass from Oakley)
Lansing -- Howell 25 pass from Jorgensen (pass failed)
Lansing -- French 1 run (pass failed)
Lansing -- Butler 12 run (Grafke pass from Howell)
Lansing -- Allen 49 pass from Jorgensen (Howell kick)
Lansing -- Howell 2 run (pass failed)
Lansing -- Allen 20 pass from Oakley (kick failed)
Topeka West -- NItschke 72 run (kick failed)
Lansing -- Ellington 62 fumble return (Riggi run)
Lansing -- Stephens 18 pass from Oakley (Howell kick)
Lansing -- Pollard 18 run (conversion failed)
Topeka West -- Nitschke 91 run (Berg pass from Tisdale)