High school football: Parkway pulls away from Natchitoches Central in the second half

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Making adjustments, for coaches and players alike, has been what this season has been about in many ways.

Parkway head coach Coy Brotherton asked some players to take on some added responsibilities Friday night against Natchitoches Central at Bobby Marlow Field at Preston Crownover Stadium.

They responded well, helping the Panthers pull away in the second half for a 30-7 District 1-5A victory.

Parkway improved to 2-4 overall with its second straight win and 1-3 in district. Natchitoches Central, which has been competitive in all its games, dropped to 0-6 and 0-4.

“It was a good win for us,” Brotherton said. “And honestly we had to move some guys around. We asked some guys to step up and play different positions, play both ways.”

Two of those were senior lineman Trenton Defatta and sophomore outside linebacker Barrett Newman.

Friday night, Defatta and Newman also played in the offensive backfield — Defatta at fullback and Newman at running back.

“Trenton Defatta didn’t come off the field in the second half,” Brotherton said. “Those two guys definitely gave it all tonight as a lot of our kids did. Couldn’t have asked for a better performance from some of those guys who don’t get all the touches.”

Newman scored the Panthers’ final touchdown on a 5-yard run. He was also in on eight tackles.

Another sophomore, running back Jaylan White, came up big for the second week in a row. With Bossier Parish leading rusher Rontavious Richmond not playing, White rushed for 128 yards on 31 carries. 

His 14-yard touchdown run gave the Panthers a 24-7 lead in the fourth quarter.

Things didn’t start well for Parkway, though.

Natchitoches Central scored on a 44-yard pass on fourth-and-10 late in the first quarter.

The Chiefs then intercepted an attempted halfback pass and returned it to the Parkway 9. A holding penalty on second down moved the Chiefs back.

On third-and-goal from the 22, Parkway’s Jayden Hardy picked off a pass and returned it 92 yards for a touchdown. Aeron Burrell’s PAT tied it at 7.

Burrell scored the only other points of the first half on a 30-yard field goal with under a minute to play in the half. White did most of the work on a drive that started at the Parkway 49.

The Panthers extended the lead to 10 in the third quarter on a 25-yard pass from Cannon Link to Brady Norcross.

Brotherton credited his defense for keeping the Chiefs out of the end zone after the first quarter. Per Parkway stats, the Panthers limited the Chiefs to 175 total yards and six first downs.

“The defense played lights out all night,” he said.

Offensively, Brotherton said the second half was similar to last week’s 36-26 victory over Woodlawn.

“We made an adjustment or two on the O-line and kept pounding away until those three-yard runs turn into seven and eight,” he said.

The Panthers stayed mostly on the ground. Link completed 5-of-9 passes for 52 yards. Norcross had three catches for 39 yards.

Jaden Jones led the defense with 10 tackles (four solo, six assists). Connor Norcross was in on nine and Defatta six. 

Noah Wolf and Iziah Smith were in on five each. Quincy Jones was in on four.

Parkway is scheduled to play Southwood at home Thursday. The Cowboys (1-3, 0-2) fell to Tioga 43-20 Friday night. Southwood’s win was a forfeit from Northwood.