The Parkway Panthers broke open a tight game with four third-quarter touchdowns en route to a 45-14 victory over the Haughton Buccaneers Friday night at Harold E. Harlan Field.
Parkway improved to 7-1 overall and 3-1 in District 1-5A. Haughton dropped to 4-4 with its third straight loss and fell to 1-3 in district.
The Panthers host Southwood (1-7, 0-4) this Friday. The Cowboys fell to Captain Shreve 33-15 Friday night. Haughton visits 1-5A leader Evangel (6-2, 4-0) this Friday. The Eagles knocked off Airline 45-7.
The Bucs went toe-to-toe with the Panthers in a first half that ended tied at 14. With starting running back/linebacker Lavonta Gipson out with an injury, speedster Josh Lister lined up in the backfield instead of at receiver for most of the game.
Lister had two TDs called back because of penalties, but he had one that counted, a 2-yard run that gave the Bucs a 14-7 lead. Parkway quarterback Justin Rogers answered with a 1-yard TD run set up by his 25-yard pass to Eric “EJ” Williams.
The Haughton defense played well in the first half, stopping a couple of fourth-down attempts early. The Panthers also converted a couple in the second.
Haughton tried an onside kick to start the second half. The Bucs had a good chance of recovering it, but the ball went out of bounds at the Parkway 46.
Williams ran for 11 yards and then Rogers then hit tight end Derrick Mitchell for a 26-yard gain. Robert McKnight followed with a 16-yard touchdown run.
Parkway forced a three-and-out and Rogers promptly hit McKnight for a 40-yard score.
Johnathan Jones’ interception set up the Panthers’ third score of the quarter, a 24-yard McKnight run. A fumble recovery by David Morales set up the fourth, a 7-yard Williams’ run, and the Panthers led 39-14 going into the final quarter.
“They’re good enough where they make you have to play perfect,” Haughton coach Jason Brotherton said. “And we played about perfect in the first half, really proud of that effort. Then right off the bat in the second half we got an onside kick we should have easily recovered and we don’t. Two plays later they score and it’s a downhill snowball. And once you don’t play really well against them they score quick. They’re really good.”
Parkway coach David Feaster was surprised with how well Haughton played in the first half.
“When I saw them against Byrd, I left there saying ‘Oh, my, goodness, I hope we don’t take them lightly because they really are pretty good.’ And that was my analysis in the first half. There’s not anything we’re doing wrong. Haughton really is a very capable football team.
“And in the second half, we made some adjustments maybe and they weren’t quite as sharp. Some of the breaks that were going their way early on started going our way. And we got the turnovers and the first thing we know it was over with.”
Rogers completed 21 of 29 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He also rushed for 77 yards and two TDs.
Haughton put good pressure on him at times, but he was able to evade tackles and turn potentially negative plays into positive ones.
“Justin Rogers was phenomenal,” Feaster said. “There were a lot of times I called bad plays, but he turned them into great plays because they can’t tackle him and because he’s still got so much composure looking downfield.”
McKnight rushed for 97 yards on 10 carries. He also caught four passes for 60 yards.
Terrace Marshall Jr. caught seven passes for 127 yards, including a 54-yarder for the Panthers’ first touchdown.
Haughton had 242 yards total offense with most of that coming in the first half. Lister had 81 yards on 15 carries. Pryce Curry completed 11 of 16 passes for 113 yards and scored the first TD of the game on a 3-yard run.
Emile Cola had five catches for 44 yards.
According to Parkway stats, linebacker Morales led the Parkway defense with 12 tackles (seven solo, five assists). Jones and Malcolm Banks were in on six each. Joey Cook was in on five.
T’Marquise Winfield led the Haughton defense with nine solo tackles and one assist. Harrison Voigt had eight solos and one assist.
— Russell Hedges, email@example.com