The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

October 30, 2013

Wildcats’ Parker thinks team first

By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor

— As eye-popping as the numbers are for Jake Parker, he just doesn’t seem to care much about them.

Let everyone else gasp in disbelief at his 9.3 yards-per-carry average. Two straight 2,000-yard seasons? Just part of the grand plan.

“I’m not about statistics and all that,” Parker said. “I just care about wins and making the playoffs.”

Parker was named The Register-Herald Player of the Week on Tuesday for the second time this season. The Meadow Bridge senior running back carried 19 times for 255 yards and six touchdowns in the Class A No. 11 Wildcats’ 66-27 whitewashing of PikeView last Friday.

It was the kind of performance that simply has become the norm from the 6-foot, 198-pound workhorse.

Parker has carried the ball 239 times in nine games and sits at 2,216 yards and 30 touchdowns going into Friday’s regular-season finale against Sherman.

“We have all stayed healthy, and all of us have been able to communicate and get along and be as good as we are,” he said. “We’re just looking forward to being in the playoffs.”

Parker knows he doesn’t have the visibility of a player such as Morgantown running back Chazzy Thomas, the odds-on favorite to win the Kennedy Award. He insists he doesn’t care about individual accolades, but does enjoy the opportunity to bring recognition to Meadow Bridge.

“I don’t even care about the Kennedy Award. I just want to go out there in my final year of football and show everybody what Meadow Bridge football is all about,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you play at a smaller school; it’s fun to compete with a bigger school when everybody thinks you can’t.”

Friday’s game could possibly be the last for the Wildcats (7-2) at Frank Arritt Stadium. Meadow Bridge would need a win over the Tide (2-7) and some help to get into the top eight and a first-round home playoff game.

“It’s pretty sad, but we have been to the playoffs four straight seasons (a school first for a graduating class), so that’s good,” Parker said. “Meadow Bridge has been open for a long time. That’s something everybody will remember us for.”

— E-mail: gfauber