By MATT VINES, Journal Sports
Plucky Natchitoches Central outdueled Parkway for three quarters, but the Panthers dominated the fourth quarter en route to a 37-22 win Friday at Preston-Crownover Stadium.
Parkway (7-1, 4-1 District 1-5A) got a big boost from speedster running back Jaylan White, who produced the go-ahead score early in the fourth quarter and supplied four touchdowns overall.
The Chiefs (3-5, 2-3 District 1-5A) took their last lead of the game late in the third quarter when quarterback Brian Young took off on a 60-yard touchdown sprint to hand the Chiefs a 16-15 edge after the extra point, which hasn’t been a given this season for NCHS.
But the Panthers scored three straight touchdowns — starting with White’s 53-yard scamper — to take control of the game at 23-16 and bounce back from their first loss last week to Byrd.
Parkway salted away the game with a defensive touchdown when Greg Chitman scooped a Young fumble caused by Ray Mayweather and returned it for a score to increase the advantage to 30-16.
After having a beautiful long TD run wiped out by a flag, White added his final score to put the game out of reach at 37-16.
“Jaylan took over the game, and he and (quarterback) Ashton Martin ran the ball great,” said Parkway coach Coy Brotherton. “Jaylan had four touchdowns, but he had another two called back.
“We just had to settle in and play after not having the ball much in the first half.”
After Parkway’s White started the scoring on the Panthers first possession, the Chiefs experienced early success thanks to two recovered onside kickoffs which helped limit Parkway to just two offensive possessions in the first half.
“We gave them too many possessions through special teams, but other than those, we really did limit mistakes and penalties tonight,” Brotherton said. “In the (Byrd) loss, our kids learned a lot because the mistakes we made early in the season – we didn’t address them like we should have. But in a loss, you make sure to fix those.”
NCHS turned one of those recovered kickoffs into a Camryn Davis receiving touchdown from Young on a fourth-down conversion to grab a 9-7 lead late in the second quarter. Davis added another receiving touchdown late from sophomore quarterback Lannon Collum for a two-score effort.
The Panthers surged back in front with a White scoring run, but the Chiefs had the answer with Young’s 60-yard touchdown run up the middle, snatching a 16-15 lead late in the third quarter.
But Parkway was too much in the fourth quarter with the three straight touchdowns, and the Panthers got back in the win column after having their six-game win streak snapped.
Contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org