It took Parklane less than a minute and a half to hang a touchdown on the scoreboard against Silliman Friday night. Then things just hung up for a while.
The Pioneers gutted out much of the rest of game and held off a Wildcat rally to take the 21-14 win before diving into conference play next week.
“This game went about like I expected,” head coach Brian Stutzman said. “We had an emotional win last week, and we came out flat tonight. Silliman has a good team, and I knew it would be tough.”
It took just four plays, all on the ground in Parklane style, for the Pioneers to score. Brady Wilson carried the ball for 43 of the 66 yards on the third play of the drive, and Taylor Alford took the ball across the goal line from nine yards out to tally the touchdown. Wyatt Lampton’s extra point made it 7-0.
Parklane threatened to go up two touchdowns after its second drive, a slower but steady march down the field. A 15-play drive that took them to the doorstep of the end zone.
The Pioneers overcame a penalty inside the Wildcat 10 that backed them to the 17-yard line, and a two-yard loss, when quarterback Braxton Cooksey hit Brady Warner with an 18-yard pass to the 1. The Silliman defense rose up, however, and held the Pioneers out of the end zone when the home team tried a rush up the middle.
From there, momentum started to shift. Silliman picked up a couple of first downs before punting, then came up big with an interception of a Cooksey pass intended for Brandon Chapman.
The Wildcats seemed to be poised for an answering score with a rush by quarterback Brock Berthelot down to Parklane’s 11, but a holding pushed the Wildcats back into long yardage, and the ball eventually went over on downs.
Parklane suffered its own holding penalty deep in its territory, and the resulting punt gave Silliman field position with a start inside Parklane territory. The Wildcats could not breach the Parklane 20, however, and the first half ended with Parklane holding the slim 7-0 lead.
“We got some penalties that put us behind the chains,” Stutzman said. “Anytime we have to start from behind, that’s not our game.”
Silliman carried the momentum they picked in the first half into the second, mounting a five-play, 66-yard drive that – despite an inauspicious start with a fumble recovered for a one-yard loss – resulted in a score. Berthelot hit receiver Jacob Simmons on a 56-yard strike to put the Wildcats inside the Pioneers 10, and the score came on a 10-yard pass to Jack Jackson at the 8:37 mark of the third quarter.
Parklane picked up a first down on its next possession, but continued to struggle against the invigorated Silliman offense and punted the ball away.
Momentum shifted back toward the Pioneers soon, however, as the Wildcats suffered a sack, an incompletion, and ineligible receiver downfield penalty, and finally an interception deep in Silliman territory by Pioneer free safety Jake Spring on a pass where no Wildcats were in the area.
Taking over at the Silliman 25, Parklane made the Wildcats pay for their miscue, feeding them a steady diet of Wilson and Alford all the way into the end zone. Wilson capped off the 3:34 drive on a 6-yard run with 26 seconds left in the quarter.
Silliman ran 14 plays on its next drive, reaching as deep as the Parklane 36, but Berthelot shied the football out of bounds after scrambling to escape Parklane’s pass rush and was called for grounding.
A 13-yard gain on a Berthelot pass to Bo Gilkison was negated a blocking penalty, putting Silliman in an excruciating second-and- 40 situation.
Parklane took over at its own 49 after an incompletion and soon gave themselves some breathing room, scoring after a six-play drive on which Alford juked a Silliman defender at about the Wildcat 40-yard line on his way to a 55-yard gain inside the 10. Wilson got the call for the four-yard score at 4:14 of the fourth quarter.
Silliman kicked into emergency mode on the next drive, four plays for a score that included two rare running plays, 17 yards each by Gilkison, and 37-yard scoring strike to Hunter Harrel. A two-point conversion brought the score to 21-14 with 2:51 remaining.
The Wildcat coaching staff elected not to attempt an onside kick, and the Pioneers were able to pick up a first down and run out the clock, kneeling on the final two plays.
Parklane quarterback Cooksey left the game during the final series after suffering an injury to his non-throwing hand.
“I think he dislocated his finger,” Stutzman said. “The doctor will check him out later.”
Parklane starts its conference play Friday on the road at Presbyterian Christian in Hattiesburg.
“PCS is a much improved team,” Stutzman said. “They’ve had several kids move in who are good players. We’ll have our work cut out for us.
“We’ve got to show up and play. If we can play good on the road, we can pull it out. I hope we’re ready.”