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High school football: Quarterfinal loss to Acadiana doesn’t diminish successful Parkway season

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The Parkway Panthers fell to two-time defending state champion Acadiana 42-14 in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A playoffs Friday night at Bobby Marlow Field at Preston Crownover Stadium.

But the loss did nothing to diminish what the Panthers accomplished this season in Coy Brotherton’s second year as head coach.

Parkway, which was 3-3 at one point, finished 8-5 and made the playoffs for the first time in three years. The No. 18 seed Panthers upset No. 15 Alexandria and No. 2 Captain Shreve to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2016.

“We’re happy with the way the season ended,” said Brotherton, whose first team won three games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. “We faced a lot of adversity throughout the season and I feel like we got better as the season went on. A lot of our young guys that started — five sophomores started this year — just to see them grow and get better as the year went on kind of gives us a lot of key pieces coming back next year.

“We’re hoping this year wasn’t a fluke. It’s going to happen again. That’s what we’re trying to do. Just kind of set that expectation now that we want to get back to the quarterfinals and beyond that once we get there.”

Acadiana’s powerful veer-option offense and stout defense proved to be too much to overcome Friday. The No. 7 seed Wreckin’ Rams (11-2) won their 10th in a row and will visit No. 3 Ponchatoula, a 52-20 winner over Ouachita Parish, in the semifinals.

Parkway forced a punt on Acadiana’s first possession of the game. The Rams then scored on their next four possessions for a 28-7 lead.

The Panthers, though, were still in the game at the half. Jaylan White’s 69-yard kickoff return to the Acadiana 16 set up Parkway’s second touchdown, a 1-yard Ron Richmond run on fourth-and-goal with 1:54 left in the second quarter. Aeron Burrell’s second PAT made it 28-14. 

Richmond, a senior three-year starter who was a major factor in Parkway’s success, scored the Panthers’ first TD on a 56-yard pass from fellow senior Cannon Link after Acadiana had taken a 14-0 lead.

But any momentum Parkway got from Richmond’s second touchdown vanished after Acadiana’s Omiri Wiggins went 78 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the second half.

Wiggins and Keven Williams both had more than 100 yards rushing at the half. Wiggins finished with more than 200 and scored two other TDs on runs of 43 and 1 yards. The Rams also got a 23-yard TD pass from Ayden Trahan to Samuel Key.

A running team like Acadiana is tough to come back on. The Rams controlled the ball and the clock for most of the second half.

“They were tough,” Brotherton said. “They’re built for that.”

He also had high praise for the Rams defense.

“They were probably the best defense we played all year. They’ve won back-to-back state championship for a reason. They kind of set the mark of where we all want to be. That’s what we’re trying to get to so we’ve got to use that as motivation in the offseason.”

Parkway did have its chances in the third quarter and early in the fourth.

The Panthers drove to the Rams 30  but came up a half-yard short on the fourth-and-1.

Parkway recovered a fumble at the Acadiana 40. A Link completion set up the Panthers with a first down at the 26. But Link was sacked for a 15-yard loss and a pass on fourth-and-18 was incomplete.

A 41-yard catch by Richmond gave Parkway a first down at the 20. But the Rams intercepted a fourth-down pass in the end zone.

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