The Parkway Panthers gave the No. 2 seed Barbe Buccaneers everything they wanted and then some before falling 45-35 in the Class 5A quarterfinals Friday night at Preston Crownover Stadium.
Parkway, the No. 7 seed, finished the season 11-2. The Panthers shared the District 1-5A championship with Airline and Byrd and set a school record for victories in a season.
“It was a great football game,” Parkway coach David Feaster said. “I’m proud of our guys and the way they competed.”
The game was the expected shootout in the first half and then settled down in the second.
Like every other team Barbe has played this season, Parkway had problems defending the Bucs’ combo of Kennon Fontenot and Trey Quinn.
Fontenot and Quinn, who led the state in their respective categories during the regular season, hooked up for four touchdowns passes. All of those came in the first half.
The final one came with 19 seconds left after Barbe forced a fumble near midfield with about two minutes left. That allowed the Bucs to tie it at 28.
Fontenot passed for 246 yards and ran for 81. Quinn caught 13 passes for 199 yards.
Parkway quarterback Brandon Harris was every bit as good as Fontenot, passing for 287 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 74 yards.
Harris’ TD passes went to Holden Orgeron (56 yards), Brodrick Jefferson (1 yard) and Marquis King (76 yards).
Marcus Harper scored on a 17-yard run, and Hunter Huckaby returned a fumble forced by Antonio McGhee four yards for a score.
Parkway lost two fumbles in the second half that hurt. The first came on its opening possession, and Barbe turned that into a touchdown.
The second came with 5:10 left in the game. and Barbe leading 45-35. Harris fumbled near the pylon. Officials ruled the ball went out the side of the end zone, resulting in a touchback.
“We were that close a couple of times, and so forth, but that’s the way it works in the quarterfinals against a good team,” Feaster said. “Sometimes you don’t get the calls and that’s part of it.”
While Barbe amassed 463 yards total offense, the Panthers defense made some big plays.
Tray Walker intercepted two passes, and King picked off one.
Also, after giving the Bucs a short field in the third quarter, Parkway made a stop and Barbe missed a 48-yard field goal.
Later, after a poor punt gave the Bucs the ball at the Parkway 15, the Panthers again forced another field-goal attempt. This time Barbe converted a 25-yarder for a 38-35 lead.
“Our defense just really played courageously, I thought,” Feaster said. “We played against a very talented offense. We did about all we could could do.
“Nobody has really slowed them down all year. Our defense gave us some opportunities, but our offense would have had to be just about perfect and it just wasn’t quite perfect.”
Parkway finished with 454 yards of total offense, including 167 on the ground. Demetrius McAtee was second on the team behind Harris with 45.
Corey Hamilton caught five passes for 78 yards, and Jefferson grabbed five for 39.
King led the defense with 14 tackles. Andre Henson, McGhee and Walker were all in on nine. Huckaby was in on eight.
Parkway loses several seniors who were major contributors to the team’s success over the past two seasons. Among those are Harper, McGhee, Henson, Elijah Barrett, Ron Battle, Holland Wolf, Prince Gipson, Brandon Smalley, Brian McGuffee and Malcolm Collins.
The good news is that Harris, Jefferson, McAtee, King, Huckaby, Hamilton, Walker and linebacker Austin Averitt are all underclassmen.
Avery Shoebridge, who made all five of his PAT attempts, is also only a junior.