The Parkway Panthers lost to the Alexandria Senior High Trojans 35-12 in Coy Brotherton’s debut as head coach Friday night in Alexandria.
But don’t let the final score fool you. The Panthers trailed just 21-12 with 9:57 left in the game. The Trojans pulled away with two late TDs, the final one coming with 1:52 left.
The game was a far cry from last season’s game won 42-0 by ASH. The Trojans went on to finish 10-2.
“Down a touchdown in the fourth quarter, couldn’t ask for anything better from the kids,” Brotherton said. “They worked their butts off for sure.”
Parkway amassed 321 total yards, but the Panthers came up empty on three trips inside the red zone in the first half.
The first ended with a fumble and the second with an incomplete pass on fourth-and-goal from the 3. The third ended with a sack on the final play of the half with the Panthers at the 5 with no timeouts left.
“We left a lot of opportunities on the field,” Brotherton said. “We’ll learn from it.”
While disappointed with the loss, Brotherton was pleased with his team’s overall effort.
“I think we were the more physical team tonight,” he said. “The offensive line played well. The defense eliminated the big plays, got us a couple of interceptions and a fumble, and kept us in the ball game.”
Noah Wolf had both interceptions. Parkway had two turnovers, both fumbles.
ASH led 14-0 at the half, scoring on a 10-yard pass and a 1-yard run.
Parkway cut the lead to eight in the third quarter on Rontavious Richmond’s 5-yard run. A two-point conversion attempt failed.
A 54-yard option pass from Brady Norcross to Jalun Reed to the Trojans 8 set up the TD.
A 13-yard TD pass extended ASH’s lead to 21-6 going into the fourth quarter. Richmond’s 1-yard TD run with got the Panthers within nine. A try for two failed again.
ASH answered with a 66-yard touchdown drive.
Richmond led the Panthers with 136 yards on 29 carries.
Cannon Link, making his first start, completed 13 of 27 passes for 86 yards.
“He did well,” Brotherton said. “Missed on a few balls, but he was able to get out there and really didn’t look like he was a first-time quarterback. Confidence-wise, he led us and put us in a good spot to win the game. Made some good throws.”
Jalun Reed had five catches for 88 yards.
Per Parkway stats, ASH had 367 total yards (221 rushing, 146 passing).
Linebacker Connor Norcross led the Panthers with 12 tackles (seven solo, five assists). Darriusz Patterson was in on eight, Jaden Jones seven and Trent Mesloh six.
Parkway opens District 1-5A play Friday at home against Benton. The Tigers fell to Huntington 27-26 in their opener.