Last summer, Parkway head coach Coy Brotherton figured that running back Jaylan White had a chance to be an impact player.
But he also thought it might take at least a little while for the sophomore to make his presence felt.
“We tried to give him some opportunities early in the season those first few ball games,” Brotherton said. “He just lacked the experience and needed some more practice time. I really think if we would’ve been able to go through spring ball and go through a real regular summer he’d have been more of an impact player early on. But in the last three weeks we’ve leaned on him a lot and needed him more here lately. He’s stepped up and I’m glad we have him for two more years.”
“Stepped up” is an understatement.
White rushed for 265 yards on 28 carries and scored three touchdowns in the Panthers’ 49-27 District 1-5A victory over the Southwood Cowboys on Thursday night at Bobby Marlow Field at Preston Crownover Stadium.
Parkway (3-4, 2-3) has now won three in a row after an 0-4 start. In those three games, White has accounted for 590 total yards (465 rushing, 125 receiving).
He had two touchdown runs of 13 yards and one of 61 Thursday night.
White wasn’t the only Panther who had a big game.
Brady Norcross gained 71 yards rushing on seven carries, including touchdown runs of 1 and 13 yards. He also caught two passes for 37 yards, including a 20-yard TD from Cannon Link.
Link completed 7-of-9 passes for 117 yards. Jalun Reed had three catches for 48 yards.
Darriusz Patterson returned a kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown.
Last season, Southwood defeated Parkway 18-16, its first non-forfeit district victory in 10 years.
The Cowboys (1-4, 0-3) came ready to play again. The game was tied at 21 at the half. After Parkway extended the lead to 35-21, Southwood got within eight early in the fourth before the Panthers put the Cowboys away.
Quarterback Devin Williams gave the Parkway defense fits with his scrambling ability, running for three touchdowns.
“Defensively, we just couldn’t get off the field,” Brotherton said. “That quarterback they had, he ran for a lot of yards, a lot of quarterback scrambles. We just didn’t contain very well on him. There are things we’ve got to get better at on that.
“I didn’t think we played terrible. In the secondary I thought we covered well. We didn’t give any big pass plays. We shut the designed run game down. It was just that one kid making some plays. We had a hard time tackling him in the open field for him to get extend drives.”
Connor Norcross led the defense with 13 tackles (eight solo, five assists), per Parkway stats. Jaden Jones and Ted Nelams were in on seven each. Barrett Newman was in on six.
Parkway is scheduled to complete the regular season next Friday at Haughton. The Bucs (5-1, 3-1) are scheduled to play Natchitoches Central Friday night.
A victory may put the Panthers in the playoffs.
Coy Brotherton will be going against his brother, Haughton head coach Jason Brotherton. The two faced off five times when Coy was the offensive coordinator at Captain Steve.
“It’s fun to play against each other,” Coy said. “It’s pretty cool at the end of the year when we can sit down and just kind of realize the opportunity that both of us have to be a head coach in the parish, to be a head coach in 5A, to have the opportunity to play against each other. It’s pretty cool. It’s pretty special for us.”