Since Parkway North standout and University of Missouri recruit Donavin Newsom left the second half of the Vikings’ 38-20 loss to Rockwood Summit in Week 2, senior Jovonte Suber has moved into a featured back role.
He flourished last week, running for 186 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-17 victory over Timberland.
The test gets considerably more difficult for the Vikings (2-2, 0-2) Friday at Kirkwood (3-0, 2-0), which is No. 4 in the latest Class 5 statewide poll. The teams meet at 7 p.m. on Friday in a Suburban Conference game.
“Jovonte has done a great job for us,” said Parkway North coach Bob Bunton, whose team is receiving votes in the latest Class 5 poll.
“He is a hard-working kid who has tremendous toughness," Bunton said. "He knew our team needed him when Donavin Newsom got injured and Jovonte has not disappointed this team at all. We will continue to look for him to do a lot of things on offense and in the return game.”
Newsom had arthroscopic knee surgery and will be sidelined for at least two more weeks, and could miss the rest of the season.
His services would be significant against a Kirkwood group that is averaging 33 points in the first half and has allowed only two touchdowns this season.
“The coaches really coach the players hard and they have responded,” coach Matt Irvin said. “(Coaches) Gary Heyde, Mike Brown, Greg Wayne, and Willie Parks have done good work with just three starters returning from last season.”
The Pioneers are led on defense by juniors J.J. Jones and Ed Richey and seniors Clayton Burnett, Max Kramer, Jahmal Hicks.
Offensively, senior receiver Mike McHugh, a Northwestern recruit, has 314 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Junior running back Ramon Alton has 202 yards on the ground.
“Kirkwood is extremely talented and we have not found a weakness,” Bunton said.
“We must continue to worry about getting our team better from week to week, weather through some injuries and hopefully get totally healthy for district time," Bunton said. "Our kids are playing hard and preparing to give a great effort on Friday night. We know we must play very well in all phases.”
Kirkwood also played Summit this year, scoring a 36-7, season-opening victory over the Falcons.