The Parkway Panthers rallied for a 57-56 shootout victory over the Bastrop Rams in the season opener Friday night in Bastrop.
CJ Morgan scored the winning touchdown with 6 seconds left on a 13-yard pass from Keondre Wudtee. Morgan was hit around the 3 and lunged forward, pushing the football across the plane of the goalline with both hands.
“I told our players when we scored our last touchdown with six seconds to go that even if they run the kickoff back for a TD and beat us this will have been an amazing night,” Parkway coach David Feaster said. “We demonstrated so much character. We had guys sick during the week. We had guys hurt and guys cramping up. They got ahead so many times that time after time for us to come back is really remarkable.”
Junior running back Robert McKnight had a big game for the Panthers, rushing for 205 yards on 14 carries and scoring touchdowns on runs of 3 and 5 yards. He also returned a kickoff 95 yards for a TD.
“Robert was phenomenal,” Feaster said. “He got hurt a couple of times.”
Senior quarterback Keondre Wudtee completed 14 of 31 passes for 319 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for the Panthers’ second TD set up by a 52-yard pass to Deonte’ Hawkins.
Sophomore receiver Terrace Marshall caught eight passes for 197 yards and two TDs. He scored Parkway’s first touchdown on an 85-yarder.
The teams combined for 1,304 yards of total offense. Parkway had 610 and Bastrop had 694.
It wasn’t the first time the Panthers and Rams played a high-scoring game. Parkway won 79-56 in 2013 and 55-28 last year.
“It was never easy for us, even on offense,” Feaster said. “A few years ago when we beat them we could do whatever we wanted. We had to work for everything tonight.”
Parkway led 20-14 after the first quarter, but Bastrop rallied in the second and led 36-27 at the half. The Rams extended the lead to 42-27 early in the third quarter.
The Panthers then stormed back, scoring three straight touchdowns to take a 45-42 lead.
Wudtee passed 5 yards to Kendall Brown for the first score, Morgan ran six yards for the second and Robert McKnight carried five for the third. The Panthers failed on all three conversion attempts.
Bastrop then regained the lead with a touchdown and two-point conversion early in the fourth, 50-45.
Parkway drove to a first-and-goal at the Bastrop 10. But a personal foul moved the ball back to the 26 and the Panthers lost four more. On fourth-and-goal from the 30, Wudtee hit Terrace Marshall for a touchdown. The conversion failed and the Panthers led 51-50 with 5:13 left in the game.
Bastrop then drove 59 yards to take a 56-51 lead. Ryan Black stopped a two-conversion attempt with a tackle for a yard loss.
Parkway took over at its own 22. On first down, Wudtee found Marshall for a 47-yard gain to the Bastrop 31. On fourth-and-5 from the 26, McKnight gained 13 yards and Parkway took a timeout with 26 seconds left.
On second down from the 13, Wudtee hit Morgan for the go-ahead score. Lloyd Cole knocked down a long desperation pass to preserve the victory.
Cole led the defense with 12 tackles. Ryan Huckaby had nine and Black had eight. Kyler Marrus and Malcolm Banks had seven each. Black and Semaj Tarver each had one sack.
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org