Friday’s Parkway-Bastrop season opener at Preston Crownover Stadium didn’t produce quite as much drama as some previous matchups in the series. The Panthers made sure of that.
Last year, Parkway slipped past Bastrop 57-56 with a touchdown in the final seconds. Friday, the Panthers never trailed.
Junior quarterback Justin Rogers completed 18 of 28 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in his debut to lead the Panthers past the Rams 49-20.
“He was very sound,” Parkway coach David Feaster said. “It was impossible for them to tackle him. When the protection broke down he was still very hard to bring down so he was still able to make some plays and find open receivers. He really had a great night.”
E.J. Williams had a very good night for Parkway, rushing for 80 yards on 11 carries. He scored on runs of 2 and 25 yards and caught a 12-yard touchdown pass.
Junior All-State wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. picked up where he left off last year, catching eight passes for 163 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown. Marshall has been rated as the No. 1 receiver in the nation in the Class of 2018 by several recruiting websites.
“We played well overall,” said Feaster, whose team faces Lufkin, Texas (2-0) on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 4 p.m. in the Battle on the Border at Independence Stadium. “They have a very big front six. Our pass protection was adequate and the run blocking was pretty good so we were able to run and throw on them.”
Parkway piled up 203 yards on the ground and finished with 496 total.
Feaster was most pleased with his defense. According to Parkway’s official stats, Bastrop passed for 296 yards, completing 23 of 43 passes with two interceptions. But the Rams managed just 35 yards rushing. All three of Bastrop’s TDs came on passes.
“Our defense was really much-improved,” he said. “We weren’t quite perfect. We didn’t pitch a shutout, but it was close. The defense made some plays and got some turnovers, things like that.”
Parkway’s special teams got in on the act, too. David Morales blocked a punt and Johnathon Jones returned it 41 yards for a score.
Alija Barnett had 40 yards on just three carries. Rogers showed off his running ability with a 23-yard scamper.
Robert McKnight caught four passes for 65 yards, including a 45-yard gain. He also scored on a 7-yard run.
Chase Hill was perfect on all seven of his PAT attempts. He also scored the Panthers’ first touchdown on an 8-yard run.
Johnathon Jones and Malcolm Banks had interceptions. According to Parkway’s official stats, Banks was in on five five tackles. Morales had four solo and three assists. Eighteen Panthers were credited with at least one tackle.
Amani Larry had a 43-yard kickoff return.
— Russell Hedges, email@example.com