Last season, the Parkway Panthers didn’t get to celebrate a victory until the fifth game.
They didn’t have to wait near that long this year. Parkway routed the Minden Crimson Tide 45-14 in a season opener at The Pit on Friday night in Minden.
Minden took almost half the first quarter to score the game’s first touchdown. It took Parkway 10 seconds to tie it.
Cannon Link hit Ed Moses for a 72-yard touchdown on the Panthers’ first offensive play of the season. A two-point conversion gave Parkway an 8-6 lead.
Parkway didn’t stop scoring until they had 45 points with 36 seconds left in the third quarter.
“I think our line was phenomenal tonight,” Parkway second-year Head Coach Coy Brotherton said. “We were able to get in a tight end set every play. Jatavious Calhoun, the tight end, really made a big difference for us. We were able to get six big offensive linemen out there and run the football.”
The Panthers rolled up 358 yards rushing. Jaylan White, a first-team All-District 1-5A selection last season, had 177 yards on just 11 carries. He scored on a 65-yard run.
Ron Richmond scored on an 82-yard run with just 7 seconds left in the first half. He finished with 105 yards on just four carries.
Derrick Brown and Demon Blackwell both scored rushing touchdowns.
“We had some big runs tonight,” Brotherton said. “Jaylan White, Ron Richmond and Derrick Brown, every running back, had rushing touchdowns tonight and had big games on the ground.”
The Panthers didn’t put the ball in the air a lot. But Link completed 8-of-13 passes for 122 yards. Aeron Burrell kicked a 26-yard field goal and made four extra-point kicks.
With nine starters returning, Brotherton said the offensive explosion wasn’t a big surprise.
“We saw them get better each week (last season),” he said. “We’re excited about what they can do. We were able for the first time tonight to have all 11 guys out there. We didn’t have any starters out tonight. That’s a big plus and it showed.
“We had some big plays early. First play of the game, 65-yard touchdown pass from Cannon Link to Ed Moses. That kind of set the tone for us on offense.”
The defense did its part too. Minden’s second TD in the fourth quarter came against backups.
Jayden Hardey stopped a Crimson Tide drive with an interception in the end zone. Trey Fisher had an interception in the third quarter. The Panthers also recovered a fumble.
“Defensively, we did well tonight,” Brotherton said. “We gave up a touchdown on the first drive and settled in and didn’t give up anything until the No. 2s in the fourth.”
Parkway faces North DeSoto on Friday night in its home opener. The Griffins dropped a 30-9 decision to Captain Shreve in their first game.