The Parkway Panthers fell to the Zachary Broncos 41-27 in the semifinals of the Class 5A semifinals Friday night in Zachary.
Parkway finished the season 12-2. The Panthers shared the District 1-5A championship with Evangel and Byrd. Zachary (13-1), which extended its winning streak to 10 games, will head to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to play for a state championship for the first time in school history.
The Panthers and Broncos were two evenly matched teams. Zachary quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr., who earlier in the day was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, and Parkway quarterback Keondre Wudtee both turned in outstanding performances.
The Broncos rushed for more than 400 yards and Scott had almost three-fourths of that. Wudtee tossed three touchdown passes and made several big runs.
One big difference in the game was Parkway’s failure to score twice after having first and goal. Both times they were stopped on fourth down from the 1.
In the first quarter, a fumble ended the threat on Parkway’s second possession. In the third, Wudtee rolled out and threw incomplete with Zachary leading 34-27.
Also, Zachary did not turn the ball over in the second half. Parkway forced three first-half turnovers en route to a 20-13 lead.
Parkway’s Robert McKnight scored a touchdown on a short run in the first half and Wudtee threw two touchdown passes. Lloyd Cole’s blocked punt set up the second touchdown.
Zachary drove for a TD on its first possession of the second half after a Parkway onside kick failed. Scott scored on a 23-yard run on fourth-and-1 and the PAT tied it at 20.
Parkway answered quickly, with Wudtee hitting CJ Morgan for a TD with 9:37 left in the third quarter. Scott raced 57 yards and the Broncos tied it with 7:38 to go in the third.
The Panthers advanced to the Zachary 32 but turned it over on downs. Scott ran 23 yards for a touchdown to give the Broncos their first lead since the first quarter.
After a scrambling Wudtee hit McKnight with a long pass to the Zachary 6, the Panthers had a chance to tie it. McKnight gained three yards to the one on third and goal. Then Wudtee threw incompleted on fourth.
Parkway forced a punt, but the Panthers couldn’t convert a fourth-and-1 and Zachary took over at the Parkway 45. A few plays later, Terry Sullivan ran 23 yards and the Broncos led 41-27 with 3:08 to play.
The game was the final one for several Parkway seniors, including Wudtee and Morgan, who contributed to a 20-4 record over the last two seasons.
According to the roster, the other Parkway seniors are S Cole, TB Jarrod Hamilton, WR Elijah Rivers, WR Larry Sweeney, LB Greg Jones, TE Harrison Hopkins, CB Tyler Cromwell, WR Deonte’ Hawkins, WR/CB John Glass, SE Nich Williams, LB Ryan Black, TB DeShaun Harrell, FB Latreviante Clark, DE Kyler Marrus, LB Semaj Tarver, SS Jackson Pickard, G Tristan Jackson, DE Nick Martinez, G Miles Landingham, C Nikolas Holt, LB Miguel Banks, T Brandon Johnson, T Ladarean Patterson, DE Elijah Steadman, T Kane Whitlock and T Michael Wood.
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org