At the 9:11 mark of the second quarter in Friday’s game against a powerful Parkway team, Minden was in an emergency for which life support was not forthcoming.
Parkway’s touchdown at that time put the Panthers up 31-0, while the Crimson Tide offense — which had rushed for more than 200 yards the previous week against a very good Haughton team — had failed to make a first down.
To make matters worse, Minden was unable to get a punt off on its first two attempts due to a combination of high snaps and a ferocious Panther rush that set up the game’s first two scores.
“Our kids prepared hard all week,” said Parkway defensive coordinator Neil May. “They’ve been in the system a long time. They were focused and played hard.”
Parkway amassed 314 yards of total offense despite heavy substitutions in the second half, while the defense held Minden to minus 37 yards of offense — much of it coming on ill-fated punting attempts.
In both first quarter punt attempts, the punter had no opportunity to attempt a punt and was sacked. The first time, Parkway took over at the Crimson Tide 30. Two plays later, Demetrius McAtee ran 15 yards up the middle standing up for a 7-0 Parkway lead.
Forced into a punting situation on its ensuing possession, Minden’s punter was nailed at the Tide 13. Following an incomplete pass, Parkway quarterback Brandon Harris escaped up the middle for a 14-0 Parkway lead halfway through the first quarter.
Three plays later, following an interception by senior linebacker Ron Battle, Parkway was back in business deep in Minden territory. Harris scored a TD on a keeper but it was called back for holding and the Panthers eventually had to settle for a field goal that made the score 17-0.
Parkway successfully converted an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. The ball failed to go the necessary 10 yards but was touched by a Minden player, making it a live ball that Parkway recovered at its own 48. The Panthers drove down to the Minden 11 before fumbling. But, on second down, Minden fumbled the snap and Parkway senior Holland Wolf recovered in the end zone for a touchdown and 24-0 lead with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter.
Marcus Harper’s short TD run at 9:11 made the score 31-0. Less than a minute later, the Crimson Tide fumbled at its own 17 following the kickoff. Backup quarterback Rob Harper found Austin Roth for an 11-yard touchdown strike and 38-0 lead with 6:46 remaining in the second quarter.
Parkway added a field goal midway through the third quarter for a 41-0 lead.
Minden threatened to score on the ensuing kickoff, returning the ball to the Panther 18, but Parkway’s defense held.
The Crimson Tide avoided a shutout on a safety due to a high snap with 4 minutes remaining.
For Class 4A Minden, the game ended a run of three games against Class 5A teams — Ruston, Haughton and Parkway – that resulted in lopsided losses.
As both teams prepare to open district play, Parkway Coach David Feaster — who formerly coached Minden to the state quarterfinals — said he believes both teams have good things in store.
“It’s great to see Minden people come out and support their team despite a slow start this season,” Feaster said. “Last season Minden started slow and ended up district champions.”