BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Parker quarterback Malik Cunningham scored three touchdowns and passed for another as #3 Parker defeated Mortimer Jordan 62-28 at Major Brown Memorial Stadium on Thursday night. Parker had over 660 yards of offense, and all-state cornerback Na’eem Offord picked off a Blue Devils pass to help the Thundering Herd to a convincing win in a Class 6A, Region 5 game.
It was Parker early and often scoring throughout the game and rolled to the win. "We saw some fight, but we keep making too many mistakes," said Herd head coach Frank Warren. "I keep saying it repeatedly, but we have to fix it. We keep shooting ourselves in our foot with these penalties. We have to get off the field. Overall, I'm proud of our team, and we played a great team that will be in the playoffs down the road."
Parker (4-0, 2-0) scored first in the game. Offord picked off a Blue Devils pass to set up the Parker first score. "We made some mistakes that I know we can fix because I know the team that we are," said Offord. "We have game planned for their offense but still made some mistakes that we can correct and get better. We don't want anyone to score on us, to be honest. We will keep working hard."
With 6:11 left in the first quarter, Muhammad scored on a 3-yard touchdown run, and Parker led 7-0. A big Amari Burndidge runs deep into the Blue Devil's territory and sets up the Herd offense again. With 11:56 left in the second quarter, Muhammad found Chancellor Sparks on a 7-yard touchdown pass play for the Herd, and Parker led 13-0.
After a Parker turnover deep in their own territory, the Blue Devils get on the scoreboard with a Garrett Ames to Coleman Maldonado 11-yard touchdown pass play. With the score, the Blue Devils cut the lead to 13-7 with 8:44 left in the second quarter. Every time that Mortimer Jordan would score, Parker came right back. With 8:19 left in the half, Amari Brundidge scored on a 61-yard touchdown run. With the score, Parker led 21-7.
Mortimer Jordan (3-1, 1-1) came back down the field but was stopped on downs on a Parker sack by linebacker Jeremiah Beaman. "We had great defense in spurts," said Beaman. "We still have little things that stop us from being an elite defense. On Monday, we have 28 sprints for what the opposing team scored. We run that to get the extra work in to give us a championship mentality. We wanted to get pressure on the quarterback where he wouldn't be comfortable throwing the ball. Right now, we have a high standard for the defense, and we still have room to grow."
With the ball returning to Parker, Muhammad rips off another big run on a 62-yard touchdown run for a Herd touchdown. With 2:55 left in the first half, Parker took a 28-7 lead. Parker forced another punt before the half and took over the football again. This time, Muhammad goes for a 75-yard touchdown run with only 58 seconds before halftime. With the score, Parker led 35-7.
"Great team win," said Muhammad. "Our offensive line made a great push all night long. I know what I must do and must show it on the field. The run game was working. We felt like we could get some plays on running the football. We have a lot of confidence on offense right now. We can run or pass it anytime during the game to keep defenses from just loading the box." Muhammad completed 7-of-9 passing for 55 yards and a touchdown, but a significant number rushing the football. Muhammad had 147 yards on only four carries and three touchdowns.
Mortimer Jordan made an incredible drive before the half as they scored as time expired on an Ames to Maldonado 14-yard touchdown pass play to cut the Parker lead to 35-14 at halftime.
Parker came right back out at the half and didn't let up. With 10:31 left in the third quarter, Martavius Powell scored on a 29-yard touchdown run to give Parker a 42-14 lead. With 7:53 left in the third quarter, Cam Jennings found Jeremiah Jelks in the middle of the field, and Jelks turned it into a 74-yard touchdown. With the score, Parker led 49-14.
With 6:55 left in the third quarter, Mortimer Jordan scored on a 55-yard touchdown from Ames to Maldonado. With the score, Parker still led 49-21. With time expired in the third quarter, Brundidge came back and scored on a 25-yard touchdown run, and Parker led 55-21. Brundidge had a massive game with 175 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns.
With 8:45 left in the fourth quarter, Ames scored on a 25-yard touchdown run to cut the Parker lead to 55-28 to go in the game. Parker scored their last touchdown on a Sparks 29-yard touchdown run, and the Herd led 62-28 midway through the fourth quarter.
Ames finished the game completing only 13-of-38 passes for 226 yards with three touchdowns and an interception with his 25-yard touchdown run. Maldonado was the workhorse receiver, with nine receptions for 151 yards and three touchdowns.
Next, Parker travels to Gardendale as Mortimer Jordan will host Woodlawn.