Trojans run over K-Kids
It didn’t take long to get back to where he was before. After missing almost a full season, Parkland junior running back Isiah Rico never lost a step.
Rico carried the ball 31 times and amassed 209 yards while scoring three touchdowns to lead a dominant rushing game in the Trojans’ season-opening 49-14 win last Friday night at Northampton Area High School’s Al Erdosy Stadium.
Rico suffered an injury four weeks into his sophomore campaign last year, but has come back stronger than before. The Parkland ground game totaled 429 yards and accounted for all seven touchdowns.
“It felt great, really,” said Rico. “Coming from last year, I’ve been waiting almost a year for this. To come out here and get a big win like this was really good.”
Not only was Rico the new focal point of the backfield, senior quarterback Tanner Lewis, who started eight games last season but split time, is now the full-time starter and will receive the majority of the snaps.
Lewis had an efficient night both with his arm and his legs. He completed 12 of 16 passes for 90 yards. He also ran seven times for 78 yards and two touchdowns.
“I just feel more confident out there this year,” said Lewis. “I know that I’m the guy this year to run the offense and that gives me confidence.
“All of the guys around me are great players and it makes my job easier. We can have a really good offense this year if we keep working hard.”
Rico and Lewis combined for the only points of the first half, a five-yard run and two-yard run respectively, as the Trojans went into the locker room ahead 14-0.
After raising the lead to 28-0 early in the third quarter on touchdown runs by Angel Santos (six yards) and Lewis (63 yards), it looked as if it was going to be another easy opening win for Parkland, which defeated the Kids 41-0 in week one last season.
But Northampton did not back down and responded with two touchdown runs by junior quarterback Joe Kerbacher.
Parkland’s advantage was at just 28-14 with 1:51 left in the third quarter.
Following a fumble on the Trojans’ ensuing possession, Northampton looked to cut its deficit even more, but Parkland’s defense held firm, holding on a third-and-one near midfield to stop any momentum.
“Our defense really stepped up when we needed them to most and delivered,” Lewis said. “They picked me up and our offense when we sputtered there a little bit. They always come to play.”
Parkland was able to put the game away in the fourth quarter with 21 unanswered points. Rico scored twice from four and 26 yards and Ryan Zolotsky found pay dirt from six yards out.