Junior Kolby Parker has become one of the mainstays of an injury-riddled defensive line at Alexandria Senior High.
That’s the main reason he continues to play, despite a nagging Achilles heel injury sustained in the second quarter against Pineville three weeks ago.
Plus, because of the toll that injuries have had on the defensive line, he has been playing at the nose position since the second half of ASH’s game against Peabody five weeks ago.
“It’s just one of those things I feel like I have to do,” said the 5-foot-10, 225-pound Parker about playing with pain on a team that has lost eight of nine games and is winless in District 2-5A. “I feel like I’m obligated to do it. I want to help us as a team as best I can.”
“He’s just a winner,” said ASH coach Sam Goodwin, thinking about how a once promising defensive line is now usually a three-man front with Parker in the middle because of a lack of people to play there as the Trojans get ready for the season’s final game at home Thursday night against Ouachita.
ASH first lost defensive tackle Tyler Kinder at the start of the season for academic reasons and the Trojans lost junior defensive tackle Jake Bellino, an inspirational leader, to an appendectomy in early October the day of the Peabody game.
It was during the Peabody game — an eventual 42-26 defeat — that Parker moved inside to nose tackle from defensive end.
“In the first half, we were not getting enough penetration up the middle,” said Parker, “and their quarterback was running a lot up the middle. At halftime I asked (defensive coordinator) coach (Matthew) Carmouche to move me from end to nose, and were were able to get more pressure there. I ended up with four tackles in the backfield.”
Parker had seven tackles in all that night, and he had his best game in a 28-6 loss to Pineville with 10 tackles.
Moving from end to tackle, Parker said, wasn’t difficult.
“It’s not that hard,” he said. “It’s an adjustment going from outside to inside — you’ve got to make your moves a little faster. I felt like I had to step up to help my team since we were missing some pieces.”
Goodwin said he noticed early on that Parker had a good attitude.
“I liked his attitude — he was here all summer, every day,” said Goodwin, who then with a smile, added, “He thinks he’s a tight end and fullback.”
Parker was a fullback and linebacker in junior high, and he played the same positions, along with defensive end, as a freshman. He played some as a fullback and tight end last year for the Trojans, when he was also a backup defensive end. He also got a few cracks at the fullback position early this season when the Trojans needed help in short-yardage situations.
His residence is in the middle of the defensive line, and he said assistant coach Cody Miguez and Carmouche taught him a few moves to help him penetrate into opponents’ backfields more often.
“Even though it’s been a rough season, everybody continues to fight their hardest,” he said. “I try to lead by example. When we makes plays, I try to get everybody hyped, and even when we don’t, I try to keep everybody in a good mindset.”
Parker’s parents both attended Peabody, and his father, Eric, was a shooting guard on Peabody’s Class 3A state championship basketball team in 1991.
“Yeah, there’s some kidding I get about the rivalry,” said Kolby, “but when Dad and Mom come to the games, they sit on our side when we play Peabody.”
Parker said he doesn’t know the full nature of his ankle injury, noting he will wait until after the season to have it X-rayed.
“I’m limited at practices and I tape it up a lot (for games),” he said, “and sometimes during games I have to take a seat and get off of it.”
He said possibly the best highlight of the season was the Natchitoches Central game two weeks ago that went down to the wire before NCHS prevailed, 48-45.
“We fought the whole game,” he said. “The odds were against us heavily. If we could’ve had one more play, I believe we’d have won that game.”
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