Forget the questions about Parkway’s supposedly soft schedule.
Forget the questions about whether the Parkway starters would be in good enough shape to play a full game after six straight routs.
The Panthers are for real.
Parkway proved that Thursday night with a 44-14 rout of the defending District 1-5A champion Byrd Yellow Jackets at Lee Hedges Stadium.
The Panthers improved to 7-0 overall and 2-0 in district. Byrd, which had won four in a row, dropped to 4-2 and 1-1.
Parkway is one of the smallest schools in Class 5A in terms of enrollment and Byrd is one of the largest. Parkway coach David Feaster tried to downplay the victory a bit, though.
He said he spent the entire fourth quarter thinking about the Airline Vikings, next week’s opponent.
“Someday we’ll look back and think of this as an incredible night for South Bossier and the Parkway community, but right now I’m thinking, dang, we’ve got to find some way to beat Airline,” he said.
Every Panther who played in the game had a hand in the victory.
The entire defense should take a bow after forcing four turnovers and shutting down the Yellow Jackets option attack in the second half.
“In the first half we had a couple of mistakes on option responsibility,” Parkway defensive coordinator Neil May said. “We go in at halftime, and we clean some of those things up. Defensively, I think we just physically whipped them in the second half. The thing about this group on defense, they play like brothers. That’s the thing I push with them. That’s what is special about this group on defense.”
Parkway quarterback Brandon Harris threw two touchdown passes and ran for two. He passed for 191 yards and ran for 52.
Brodrick Jefferson caught touchdown passes of 2 and 4 yards. But he also made some other big catches that set up touchdowns, finishing with seven for 128 yards.
Demetrius McAtee scored on a 17-yard run and caught a 48-yard pass to set up a TD.
Marcus Harper scored on a 2-yard run and was in on six tackles from his linebacker position.
Holland Wolf and Trey Walker both had interceptions. Walker also had nine tackles.
Lineman Antonio McGhee led the defense with 13 tackles, and safety Marquis King had 11. Linebacker Ron Battle had seven before suffering a possible broken ankle in the third quarter.
Parkway led 14-0 but Byrd rallied with two second-quarter touchdowns, including a 61-yard run by quarterback JD Lorence, to tie it.
The Panthers regained the momentum by driving for 81 yards in 1:09. Harris hit Jefferson for 42 yards on the first play. Four plays later Harris took it in from the 12 and Parkway led 20-14 at the half.
Byrd’s Lorence finished with 110 yards rushing, but he got most of that in the second quarter.
The Panthers held Xavier Long, who had 166 yards in a victory over Haughton last week, to 34 yards.