August of 1999 was my first month as publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. One of our first editions following my arrival featured the Lions Club “crying towel award.”
The crying towel was an annual tradition held before the Lions Club Football Jamboree, where the coaches voted for the person they thought would have the worst season record.
Parkway head football coach Ray Doyle was the recipient of this “award,” thanks in part, to Parkway’s winless seasons during the past two years.
During the past 14 seasons, Parkway has continued to improved, under the leadership of Doyle Jim Gatlin and David Feaster, earning spots in the playoffs in recent years.
Some of our fondest memories came from the rivalry games with Airline, and Haughton.
In 2011, we dedicated a front page to a Parkway-Haughton game when both teams were 9-0.
From the signing of future LSU Quarterback Brandon Harris, to the spotless record, 2013 will forever be one for the history books. This is an accomplishment that should not be taken lightly.
In every championship season, the are potential pitfalls that could derail a team from teachings its goal. Parkway certainly faced some obstacles this year.
Perhaps the most controversial challenge came in the form of a “no home playoff games this season” sanction. The action, ordered by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association came as punishment for the actions of Parkway administration, not the team.
Parents were livid. Phone calls were made. Meetings were held. Still, the punishment remained in effect.
A lesser team might have used these circumstances as an excuse for a quick exit from the playoffs. This team chose to remain focused on the ultimate goal — playing (and winning) the last game of the season in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
This weekend, the final chapter of this storied season will be written. Win or lose, this team has accomplished great things.
I would like to personally congratulate Coach Feaster, his team and the Parkway High School family for what has been a great season.
You are certainly “Champions.” Now go make it official — on the field.
David A. Specht is the President of Specht Newspapers, Inc. and publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org