The Parklane Pioneers knew that they had a tough task ahead of them in the opening round of the MAIS playoffs at Oak Forest. And despite putting up a strong effort and jumping out to an early lead, the Pioneers could not keep it going, falling to the Yellow Jackets, 34-7.
“We had it at 7-7 at halftime and in the second half we just couldn’t get anything sustained offensively and the defense stayed on the field too long,” Parklane head coach Brian Stutzman said.
Following a scoreless first quarter for the Pioneers (6-6) and the Yellow Jackets (8-4), Parklane lit up its side of the scoreboard first after Braxton Cooksey hooked up with fellow senior Taylor Alford on a 40-yard touchdown pass. Wyatt Lampton added the extra point putting Parklane up 7-0 in the second quarter.
But the score by the Pioneers woke the Yellow Jackets up as they answered right back with a touchdown of their own, courtesy of a 1-yard run by John Henry White, to tie the game at 7.
After the Parklane offense could not find more of that same magic it had earlier, Oak Forest took advantage with another short touchdown run by White giving the Yellow Jackets their first lead at 14-7.
The Pioneers were still well-within striking distance, but the offense continued to sputter. The Yellow Jackets grabbed a two-score advantage following a 10-yard touchdown run by Josh Falcone making the score 20-7.
Oak Forest’s Zachary Henry, who led all rushers with 197 yards on 17 carries, then got into the act, scoring both of his touchdowns in the fourth quarter on runs of seven and five yards putting Parklane down 34-7.
Cooksey completed 3-of-6 passes for 53 yards and a touchdown and an interception. Brady Wilson had 47 yards on 13 carries, while Alford chipped in 36 on nine carries. He also had two catches for 45 yards and a score.
Looking back on the year, Stutzman is proud of the way that the guys continued to fight while trying to overcome some adversity.
“We’ve had people deal with some injuries and others had to step up,” he said. “We just weren’t able to stay healthy. The kids played hard and we are sad that it is over.”