By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports
There are plays that are big, plays that are turning points and plays that nobody notices.
And there are plays that don’t even count that can make a difference in a high school football game.
Captain Shreve had all of those in a 28-15 win over Parkway Friday night at Independence Stadium.
Leading rusher Jamarlon Otis had 60 yards total on 15 of his carries. But he had 60 more yards on that other one carry and that big play of his night was the answer Shreve needed after Parkway had cut the second-quarter lead to 14-9. Definite big play.
Anytime you get a 96-yard fumble return for a touchdown, as E.J. McDonald did midway through the second quarter, it’s hard to say that’s anything less than a turning point. After all, the Panthers were a yard away from taking a 10-7 lead. After McDonald’s scoop and score, it was 14-3. Definite turning point.
In the fourth quarter, when Parkway was desperately trying to get the ball back, Shreve quarterback Quortni Beaner got exactly the yardage needed on a fourth-down run to keep the Panthers off the field for another two minutes. Maybe a little unnoticed, but certainly necessary.
But it was a play that didn’t even get recorded in the stat sheet that ended up making a big impact. The only reason Beaner was in the game in the first place was because starting quarterback Brodie Savage suffered a leg injury and was literally carried off the field by Shreve head coach Adam Kirby on a long scramble in the third quarter. That run was called back for a penalty. Shreve lost yardage and its starting quarterback in one play.
The person least concerned about that was Kirby.
“Quortni has never stopped working,” Kirby said of his senior, who opened the season as the starter but was replaced by Savage. “If you want a leader on your football team, you want Quortni Beaner. I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s been the same consistent kid every day. He’s a great leader and a great worker.”
Kirby didn’t need Beaner to come out and throw for 200 yards or make big runs. He just had to make the important plays. Beaner threw only one pass – it was incomplete – but he had two plays early in the third quarter that showed why Kirby had so much faith in him.
A high snap by the Panthers resulted in a fumble recovery by Kyron Wilson and Beaner carried the ball on the next two plays – a 12-yard run and a 5-yard touchdown – that were basically the same play. Truth be told, the play may have been designed to be handed off, but Beaner had different ideas.
“I just kept it,” he said.
It gave a Shreve a 28-15 lead with 10:08 to go and even though the Gator defense gave up 406 yards in total offense, there was no shortage of key plays throughout the game.
“I knew the defense had our back,” Beaner said. “We had the points we needed.”
“I thought our defense came to work tonight,” Kirby said. “Not only did we have a good game plan, but the kids bought into it and played their (posteriors) off. We were really swarming to the football.”
Defensive back Tre Fuller had an interception to stop one Parkway drive and broke up a pass on fourth down on another. Defensive lineman Greg Webb had a quarterback sack on a third down in the fourth quarter that forced the Panthers to punt.
And though McDonald’s fumble return was huge, here’s what really was the difference in the game.
Sandwiched around halftime, Parkway’s offense was on the field for 20 consecutive plays. You know how many points that resulted in for the Panthers? Zero. (A missed field goal and a turnover on downs.)
“It seemed like every time we had a chance to take a lead or get the momentum, we did something self-inflicted that caused them to get the momentum back,” said Parkway coach Coy Brotherton. “There are a lot of bright spots from this game, but you don’t get do-overs.”
Shreve is one of only two 2-0 teams in District 1-5A play (Airline is the other) and the Gators are 4-1 overall. Only one of those teams will be able to make that claim after next week since they play each other.
Parkway will try to rebound from its first loss of the year when they take on Southwood.
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CAPTAIN SHREVE 28, PARKWAY 15
PW 3 6 6 0 — 15
CS 7 14 0 7 — 28
P – FG Aeron Burrell 24
CS – Keaton Flowers 28 pass from Brodie Savage (John Chance kick)
CS – K.J. McDonald 96 fumble return (Chance kick)
P – Kaleb Williams 27 run (run failed)
CS – Jamarlon Otis 60 run (Chance kick)
P – Michael Collier 15 pass from Kaleb Williams (pass failed)
CS – Quortni Beaner 5 run (Chance kick)
RUSHING: PW (42-149), Tony Gladney 23-111, Williams 5-20, C.J. Dudley 6-22, Jayden Lewis 2-11, Peyton Rayner 3-7, Tell 1-4, Team 2-minus-26. CS (41-198), Otis 16-120, Beaner 12-43, Antonio Thornton 4-15, Savage 6-14, Gage Haley 1-3, Javen Thomas 1-2, Jordan Wiggins 1-1.
PASSING: PW, Williams. 20-33-1, 257 yards, 1 TD. CS, Savage 1-4-0, 28 yards, 1 TD, Beaner 1-0-0.
RECEIVING: PW, Gladney 5-76, Le’Broderick Mayweather 6-83, Lewis 5-70, Michael Collier 2-24, Machi Harris 2-14. CS, Flowers 1-28-1TD.