After coming off a hugely successful season, Parkway High School will get a chance to flex its football muscle this weekend in a showcase event for area prep football.
The Panthers will take on Marshall High School in the Landers Battle on the Border High School Football Showcase at Independence Stadium Saturday at 11 a.m.
“Our thinking is we’re just tickled pink to be part of this. I look at the teams that are represented here and all that and all the trouble ya’ll have gone through to make this a really nice event. I just think it’s a great thing Parkway is included in this,” said Parkway Head Coach David Feaster.
The fourth annual event has evolved into a yearly tradition for local football fans to see how their teams measure up against squads from throughout Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, and even Alabama.
“This year it’s grown past local teams and a lot of that has to do with Landers and Independence Stadium being a great venue. High school football is a huge event and there’s a lot of local excitement locally with Byrd and Parkway playing,” said Kelly Wells with the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission.
Parkway took part in last year’s event, also against Marshall, walloping the Mavericks 62-19 on their way to the state title game where they came up short against fellow Battle on the Border participant Acadiana.
Feaster doesn’t expect this year’s game to be that lopsided.
“Marshall kind of fits the bill with everybody else on our schedule who’ve gotten better while we’ve graduated Brandon Harris and 35 seniors. We’ve really got some good players. We’re kind of trying to put it together. It seems like everybody else has gotten better around us,” he said.
The schedule will see Lafayette’s St. Thomas More take on Gladewater (Texas) at 6 p.m., followed by Arkansas 2013 Class 6A State Champion El Dorado High School vs. 2013 Louisiana Division I runner up Byrd at 8:30 p.m.
Saturday is a full slate of games beginning with Parkway’s matchup and followed by La. Division II State Champion John Curtis taking on Luftkin (Texas) at 2 p.m.
John Curtis, located in New Orleans suburb of River Ridge, has won 26 state championships since 1975, including four in a row. John Curtis coach JT Curtis Jr. is 531-56-6. His win total is the second best all time nationally.
This is the first time for John Curtis to play in Independence Stadium since 2005 when the state championship games were moved because of damage to the Superdome caused by Hurricane Katrina.
The next matchup sees Alabama’s Shades Valley High School vs. La. Class 5A State Champion Acadiana at 5 p.m.
Acadiana has won three Class 5A state championships — 2006, 2010, 2013. Last year, the Wreckin’ Rams defeated Parkway 77-41 in the title game.
The nightcap sees Neville take on Longview, Texas at 8 p.m.
“Each of these teams were picked because they’re powerhouses but bring quite a few fans. They’re used to winning and traveling to these showcases,” said Wells.
Wells said the current format works well for the event, but they are open to expanding its schedule and coverage.
“Friday and Saturday are great for us now and we are looking at adding a slot on Thursday. TV coverage, through ESPN or Fox Sports South, is the ultimate goal. There are several showcases across the country, but I would say ours is some of the strongest in the country, we have some of the best talent here in the Arklatex.”