For Parklane, tonight’s home game against Oak Forest is full of meaning.
Not only does is it homecoming for the Pioneers (4-2, 0-2) but the game against the conference-rival Yellow Jackets (1-4, 0-2) marks the final home contest of the regular season and possibly the final game at Parklane for the nine seniors on the roster.
But the main thought going through the minds of the Pioneers is getting that first conference win of the season, and in order to do so, they will have to handle an Oak Forest team reminiscent of recent successful squads.
“They run the same offense that they have always run and they have the same quarterback at the helm in John Henry White,” Parklane head coach Brian Stutzman said. “He does a great job of running their offense. But they are running the same stuff that they have been for the past three, four or five years.”
Getting a win over the Yellow Jackets has come as quite a challenge for the Pioneers. In their last eight meetings Parklane has managed just one win, and that came in the first round of the 2018 playoffs.
However, the Pioneers have plenty of momentum heading into tonight’s game, especially after coming off of a 44-0 home win over Amite School Center last Thursday.
Similar to Parklane, Oak Forest has also played a pair of conference games this season that both were losses. And they too enter Friday’s game fresh off of a win after getting past Copiah Academy last week.
After reviewing film on the Yellow Jackets, Stutzman noted that their defense is very sound.
“Their defense is like a (traditional) Oak Forest defense, they fly to the ball,” he said. “They are very aggressive and quick to the football.”
Parklane’s offense features a slew of playmakers, including receiver Jordan Anthony who has recorded at least one touchdown in all six games thus far this season. Getting Anthony the ball is quarterback Conner Wilson who — like the other seniors on the team — will be motivated to pick up a win in what could be the final home game of his career.
As far as practice for the Pioneers this week, Stutzman said his team has had to put the distractions of fall break and homecoming week aside and focus on the task at hand.
“The kids seem focused and ready to play football, and for these seniors this could be their last home game so that is some extra motivation,” Stutzman said.