High school football: Parkway rally falls just short against Southwood

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Despite a game performance by freshman quarterback Elijah Harper, the Parkway Panthers fell to the Southwood Cowboys 18-16 in a District 1-5A game Friday night at Lee Hedges Stadium.

Harper, making his first start, completed 17 of 32 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.

The Panthers fell to 4-5 overall and 2-4 in 1-5A. Southwood improved to 1-8 and 1-5. The Cowboys ended a 10-year, 60-game district victory drought.

Southwood jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the first quarter on a 23-yard run and a 72-yard interception return.

Parkway rallied in the second. The Panthers got on the board when the Cowboys fumbled the ball out of the end zone for a safety on fourth-and-23 with less than a minute left in the half.

They then took advantage of Southwood having to kick off from the 20. Harper found Gnoble Peterson for a 55-yard score with 10 seconds left in the half. Peyton May’s PAT cut the lead to 12-9.

Southwood opened the second half with an 80-yard touchdown drive highlighted by a 52-yard run.

Parkway had a couple of promising drives end at the Cowboys 32 and 37.

After Harper’s second interception, the Panthers defense came up big.  On fourth-and-4 from the Parkway 5, Connor Norcross and Terrence Murray tackled the Southwood back three yards short of the first down.

The Panthers then drove 96 yards in five plays to get within two.

Harper hit Lewis for 23 yards on second-and-12 from the 12. On second-and-10 from the 25, he connected with Peterson again, this time for 58 yards, to the Southwood 17.

One the next play, Rontavious Richmond caught a pass from Harper and made his way into the end zone. May’s PAT made it 18-16 with just under four minutes left in the game.

Southwood recovered the ensuing kickoff at its 47, and the Parkway defense forced a three-and-out.

On second down from the 20, Harper hit Lewis for 23 yards. But after three plays netted five yards, an incomplete pass on fourth down gave the ball back to the Cowboys.

Southwood got one first down and ran out the clock.

Per Parkway stats, the Panthers had 286 total yards to 184 for Southwood. The Cowboys had 172 yards rushing but completed just 3 of 10 passes for 12 yards.

Richmond led Parkway on the ground with 41 yards on 15 carries.

Peterson had three catches for 118 yards, including 83 after he caught the ball. Quincy Jones had seven catches for 60 yards. Lewis had two for 46.

Per Parkway stats, Murray led the defense with three solo tackles and seven assists. Ty Shelton and Adam Johnson were in on seven each. Isaiah Robinson and Trenton Defatta were in on six each.

Troy Bradley had an interception and was in on five tackles.

Parkway hosts Haughton Friday. The Bucs (7-2, 4-2) defeated Natchitoches Central 17-10 Friday night.