STIGLER — It was the most difficult thing Stigler coach Chris Risenhoover has ever had to do as a football coach.
After the Panthers' 48-16 victory over Spiro on Friday night, Risenhoover broke the tragic news to his squad that they had lost another teammate.
Gordon Parsons, the team's leading receiver and starting defensive end, had not shown up for the game in Stigler and was found dead.
In July, Parsons' teammate and close friend, projected starting center Cory Cassinger, was killed in an automobile accident.
“I actually found out right before halftime,” Risenhoover said. “I got a call down from our press box coach and he informed me of the news. You never expect that level of bad news, especially after what our team has already been through.”
Instead of celebrating on the field with fans immediately after the big win over Spiro, Risenhoover instructed his players to go to the locker room where he informed them of Parsons' death.
“Basically the entire team was torn in half,” Risenhoover said. “There were a lot of emotions. They are hurting. There is a lot of pain there.”
Both Parsons and Cassinger were good athletes and exceptional kids, Risenhoover said.
“They were loved by everybody that came across them,” he said. “They had super personalities. They were talented in a number of areas. They were loved through the community.”
Parsons was a three-year starter on defense. He was the team's starting tight end the past two seasons.
“He was a big part of our football team, a great football player” Risenhoover said.
On Saturday morning, the Panthers met as a team to watch game film as they normally do. The players appeared exhausted from the emotional strain, Risenhoover said.
“They had come to grips with it a little more, but were still confused,” he said. “We went about our normal Saturday routine. We got to view game film and maybe that got their minds off of it a little bit, getting to watch their performance, and it was excellent.”