Leesville Road 21, Panther Creek 7:
Published: Aug 19, 2012 11:41 PM
Modified: Aug 19, 2012 11:43 PM
CARY - As far as rematches went, Leesville Road quarterback Evan Parker had more in common with his Panther Creek opponents than he did his teammates heading into Friday's game.
On the same field where he was hit, sacked and shut out last year, Parker made the right plays at the right time to lead the Pride to a 21-7 victory.
Parker, a transfer from Sanderson, had a much different experience playing against the Catamounts last year. Leesville Road defeated Panther Creek 49-0 in last season's opener, while Sanderson lost 50-0 to the same Catamounts in week two.
“Having to deal with last year, you go through a lot of adversity. You go through a lot of stuff that makes you a better player, better person. And I just tried to bring that to the team here,” Parker said. “There are high expectations here, and I was trying my hardest to fulfill those, and I knew that to do that, they needed me to be more than a football player, they needed me to be a leader out there.”
A 30-minute lightning delay interrupted the flow of the game with 4:07 remaining in the second quarter, where Panther Creek led 7-0 thanks to a 2-yard plunge from running back Javontay Rhoades with 6:51 left in the second quarter.
Parker stepped back onto the field, and on his second play, threw an interception that was batted down and picked off by Catamounts (0-1) lineman J.T. Wise.
But Parker showed patience and resolve when the Pride (1-0) took over at their own 17-yard line with 2:13 left till halftime.
All-around athlete Braxton Berrios ran the ball on the drive's first five plays, moving the ball to the Panther Creek's 36-yard line with less than a minute to go. Parker threw a 35-yard pas to Malcolm Hitchcock, who juggled it but hauled it in, to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Parker on the following play.
The teams entered a shortened halftime tied 7-7.
The Pride went up 13-7 after a 12-yard touchdown on fourth down reverse run from Berrios with 8:56 left in the third quarter.
With time running low on the game clock again – this time in the third quarter – Parker threw a 22-yard touchdown pass on a 4th-and-12 to Berrios for a 21-7 lead. Berrios took the ball away from the defender, making an adjustment in mid-air to help out his new teammate.
“A lot was said about our offensive line coming into this year, but I think they showed that they can step up and perform,” Parker said. “I was just lucky to benefit from the fact we have fantastic players surroundning me.”
Parker ended the night with 17 carries for 89 yards and five of 11 passing for 81 yards, with two total touchdowns. Berrios ran the ball 17 times for 63 yards and four receptions for 47 yards, also accounting for two touchdowns.
Panther Creek's Rhoades had an interesting night, ripping off two of the game's longest runs, but fumbled at the end of a 46-yarder (Berrios with the strip) and almost did the same on a 59-yarder but was ruled down
Panther Creek had two more long runs – a 61-yard run by Dorrell McClain that ended the first half and a 28-yard fake punt run by Matt Powell – that didn't lead to points.