LUMBERTON, Miss. (WDAM) - In a game that would likely decide region 4-1A, suddenly Lumberton was without its bell-cow Robert Henry who sat sidelined with a sprained ankle.
Head coach Zach Jones handed the football to sophomore Rodney Parker to lead the Panthers.
“First thing on my mind was like, ‘You got to pick them up,’” Parker said. “We’re already down. I’d say the worst half of football we’ve played. At the time, in my head just saying, ‘Don’t worry about it. Just go play football.’”
“This has been a fun team to coach,” Jones said. “We’re lightyears from where we were when we started. They have really grown. We have a lot of good players on this team and a lot of different weapons. That’s the good thing about it, it could be anybody on any given night. Friday night was Rodney’s night and he did a good job. The kids rallied around him, he never lost his composure.”
After 144 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns from Parker – coupled with 100 yards passing and another score – the Panthers rolled to a 28-3 win over Resurrection, clinching their fourth straight region title.
Parker even added 11 tackles on defense.
“I just like defense,” Parker said. “I get to be me, be rowdy. I just like to set the tone on defense.”
“He also punted for us a couple times Friday night,” Jones said. “He had a busy night. He didn’t have any trouble going to bed Friday night.”
The Panthers don’t plan to sleepwalk through the final two weeks of regular season play. Lumberton (8-2, 7-0 region 4-1A) knows where it needs to improve to make a state championship run.
“We just gotta get better every week,” Parker said. “Come together, listen to what [coach Jones] says and go execute the game plan.”
“It’s who we’re playing that week, it’s not who all’s down the road,” Jones said. “Our guys have done a really good job of doing that. We didn’t play our best ball game Friday night and we have a lot of things to clean up. I think that says a lot about this team that we didn’t play our best and still beat a good Resurrection team. We’ve got a lot of things to clean up and a lot of things to get better at.”