Prior to the kickoff of Friday night’s LHSAA Class 5A quarterfinal contest between Parkway and Landry-Walker, public address announcer Don Harper read a statement about abiding with the LHSAA sportsmanship rules.
Apparently the Buccaneers were too busy celebrating the impending 61-21 win they were about to enjoy to ingest what Harper had to say.
The game was filled with taunts aplenty by the New Orleans’ visitors who enjoy intimidating with their antics. The Bucs were whistled for 17 penalties totaling 162 yards with at least a half-dozen of the personal foul variety.
“I’m glad we play football in north Louisiana,” Parkway coach David Feaster said. “When we play someone like Byrd, no matter how badly we want to beat each other, everyone shows sportsmanship. And we have great officiating every game. We didn’t get a lot of either of those tonight.”
The Panthers (11-2) also didn’t have their stars come out to shine. Quarterback Justin Rogers started out great, scoring touchdowns on runs of 66 and 18 yards to stake the Panthers to a 14-0 lead. But he completed just 6-of-15 passes and threw a pair of costly interceptions. One was returned for a pick 6 by Landry-Walker’s Josh Smith.
But what really hurt Feaster’s offensive attack was the lack of production of Terrace Marshall. The junior standout dropped three passes in the first half and ended up with one reception for one yard.
At one point in the game, four of Parkway’s five turnovers had been turned into 28 points by the Buccaneers (11-2), leaving coach Emanuel Powell with a lot to smile about on his team’s long ride back to New Orleans.
“We got off to a slow start because we were nervous, but we finally settled down and started playing Landry-Walker football,” Powell said. “My hat’s off to my team because we overcame a lot of adversity tonight. We fought back when we could have folded our tents.”
The Panthers had all of the momentum until a 30-second span in the second quarter. Two plays after Jakobe Walker scored on a 6-yard run to get the Bucaneers within 14-7, Rogers rolled out to attempt a pass in the left flat. But the junior didn’t get the toss high enough and Smith reached up with a big paw, pulled it in, stepped away from a would-be tackler and went 26 yards to knot the game.
The Panthers were able to tie the game one more time a minute into the second quarter when Rogers hit Robert McKnight for a 48-yard score. But the visitors answered with a 40-0 run for the win.
“We had a great week of preparation leading up to this game, but it just got away from us against a very good team,” Feaster said. “We knew we’d have to play a near perfect game to beat them.”
A night that looked like a pending runaway by the Parkway Panthers turned ugly, then uglier as Buccaneer quarterback Keytaon Thompson, a Mississippi State verbal, did pretty much whatever he wanted. Every time the Panthers held him in check for two downs, the senior ripped off a big run for a first down.
He was 17-of-25 for 250 yards with three touchdown passes and two rushing scores. Thompson ran for another 56 yards.
While Parkway’s season ends on a sour note, the Buccaneers move on to play top-seeded Destrehan in the semifinals.