Parklane run defense struggles in loss to Oak Forest

Parklane's Christian Ming (3) looks for yardage while offensive lineman Elijah Burns (56) looks on during Friday's game against Oak Forest. 

Coming off of a 44-0 win last week against Amite School Center and starting the night with homecoming fanfare, the Parklane Pioneers were anticipating their first conference win for the season. Unfortunately, their plans were stifled by the Oak Forest Yellow Jackets as they lost 42-20.

After forcing a three-and-out, the Pioneers took over looking to put up the first points on the board. However, on a second down, Jeremiah Dillon brought in a Conner Wilson pass, but then fumbled but then fumbled it giving the visitors the ball once again. 

At this point, Oak Forest got into rhythm on offense putting up the first points of the night at the 4:30 mark in the opening quarter following a 12-yard run. After the extra point was added, the Pioneers trailed 7-0.

Parklane answered right back on the ensuing drive as Wilson threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Anthony. The extra point was missed but the Pioneers pulled within one at 7-6. 

The Pioneers started the second quarter with key runs from Christian Ming, but their progress was later halted.

Once Oak Forest took possession following a punt, the Parklane defense continued to struggle against the visitors' rushing attack. The Yellow Jackets maneuvered the ball down the field before a 1-yard touchdown run put Parklane in a deeper hole at 14-6.

“They have some good running backs and their line is pretty solid. We just didn’t have an answer for it,” Parklane coach Brian Stutzman said. “We weren’t able to slow them down when we needed to.”

Nearing the end of the first half, Parklane continued to struggle against Oak Forest’s speed. The Yellowjackets once again made their way deep into Pioneer territory and scored on a 5-yard run with just over a minute left in the second quarter and kicked in an additional point for a 21-6 lead. 

Parklane had a chance to put up more points just prior to the half when Wilson threw a pass into the endzone. But to the disappointment of the Pioneer fans in attendance, it was incomplete.

The Pioneers came out after the intermission with a much higher level of enthusiasm looking to pick up where they left off in the previous half when they were able to move the ball well. 

Ben McGregor scored the Pioneer’s second touchdown for the night on a 1-yard run to make the score 21-12.

But the Yellowjackets responded on their next offensive drive by putting up another with another rushing touchdown.

Parklane continued to drive down the field into Oak Forest territory. Ming recorded his first touchdown of the night with three and a half minutes left in the quarter. Following Ming’s run, Wilson connected with Jeremiah Dillon for a two point conversion, seeking to close the gap on the scoreboard at 28-20.

Pioneer defense became a powerful force for the end of the quarter, with Keaton Powers, Connor Putfark, and Jake Spring pushing the Yellowjackets further and further backfield .

In the final quarter however, Parklane ran out of gas.

The Yellowjackets scored two and a half minutes into the quarter to pull away further at 35-20. The Pioneers put forward a good effort on their next offensive play, but they were unable to put up any more points. Oak Forest took possession one last time to score again and close out the game.

After the game, Stutzman said that it is important for the Pioneers to close out the season on a positive note but he is aware that his team has its work cut out for them with road contests against Jackson Prep and Jackson Academy, respectively. 

“We still got two conference games left to play, so… we’ll follow a spot in seating behind Oak Forest and hopefully we can regroup and get better,” said Stutzman.

The Pioneer’s next game will be an away game against Jackson Prep on Friday.

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