One Parker got his yards. The other Parker got the win.
Greenbrier West’s Tyler Parker ran for three touchdowns and intercepted two passes, and the Class A No. 6 Cavaliers eliminated No. 11 Meadow Bridge 48-6 in a first-round playoff game Saturday at Greenbrier East’s Spartan Stadium.
The game wasn’t a battle of Parker vs. Parker, but all eyes were on Meadow Bridge running back Jake Parker. The Wildcats junior was his usual workhorse self, running 38 times for 194 yards — nearly 30 yards below his season average.
He narrowly missed his fifth 200-yard game of the season.
The big stat of the game was the Wildcats’ seven turnovers. Parker, uncharacteristically, fumbled four times.
Tyler Parker, meanwhile, had one of his bigger games of the season. The Cavaliers (10-1) converted the seven turnovers into 34 points, including both of Parker’s picks.
His first interception set the stage for his first touchdown, a 3-yard run that put West ahead 6-0. The second came early in the fourth quarter and was followed by Malik Boatwright’s 9-yard run that capped the scoring.
“There for a while they couldn’t get out of their own way,” West coach Lewis McClung said. “You just can’t do that. That got their backs against the wall early and really hurt them.”
After the Cavs went three-and-out on their opening drive, their next three possessions started in Wildcat territory. A fourth started at the West 28-yard line, but a 27-yard run by Cory Cox moved the ball to the Meadow Bridge 45.
By the end of the first quarter, West was up 28-0 and the drama was all but gone.
But Jake Parker’s day was far from over. Despite the four turnovers, Parker still showed why he was easily the area’s top rusher in 2012.
On the Wildcats’ only scoring drive, Parker ran for a 46-yard gain on first down to the West 17. Meadow Bridge (8-3) moved backward on the next two plays, but Parker was able to get around the left edge on third-and-15 for a 22-yard shutout-averting touchdown with :28.4 left before halftime.
Parker also had a 36-yard run on fourth-and-1 from the 45 on the first drive of the second half, but the march stalled at West’s 20.
But the Cavs also stopped Parker for 11 negative plays and four runs of no gain.
“We had to play good defense this week,” said Tyler Parker. “We had to focus on stopping him because we knew he ran hard. He’s a big boy. I thought we did OK. We just need to keep improving.”
“Our offensive line just got beat,” Meadow Bridge coach Larry McClintic said. “Parker, I thought, ran the ball as hard (as he has all season). He got a lot on his own. When you can’t get him out of the backfield, there’s nothing you can do.”
Boatwright ran for 99 yards and two touchdowns for the Cavs. Tyler Parker finished with 94 yards as the Cavs rolled up 305 on the ground.
Boatwright also connected with Josh Martin on a 50-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.
But McClung lamented what he called “ragged” play. After taking the 28-0 lead, West punted on five of its next eight possessions, and the Wildcats’ Jennings Berry ended another with an interception.
“I didn’t think we were real sharp or real crisp,” McClung said. “But we’re like them, we hadn’t played in more than two weeks, and practice last week was a little messed up. So I thought the game was a little ragged.”
“We were off for two weeks and I felt a little bit rusty,” Tyler Parker said. “But we’re going to improve that this week.”
The turnovers left a bad taste for McClintic, who felt his team could have been more competitive otherwise.
“It’s been a good year,” he said. “We only had five seniors. We can come back. They’re going to have to come in and work in the weight room. They are young kids. I think we’ve got a good nucleus coming back to build with.
“I don’t think they were (42 points) better than us. But they were today.”
West will take on No. 3 Wahama (11-0) in the second round at Point Pleasant High. McClung said he will likely choose 1:30 p.m. Saturday as game time.
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