APA's Thomas throws for 402 yards as Patriots roll past Faith Christian
Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but on Friday it came with an enormous side order of air.
Parrott Academy abandoned its normal smashmouth offensive approach and instead used the pass to filet the team that knocked it out of last year’s state playoffs, defending champion Rocky Mount Faith Christian, 54-30 at Hodges Field.
The Homecoming victory was APA’s fifth in a row and was not as close as the final score indicated.
Faith tallied the game’s final two touchdowns after trailing 54-14.
“They beat us twice and ended our season last year, so it’s definitely a game we had circled on the schedule,” Parrott coach Matt Beaman said. “All the hard work this team has put in this year is because of the bad taste that losing to Faith in the playoffs left us with last year.”
Thanks to a freshman quarterback and a junior receiver playing his first year of varsity football, that taste became quite scrumptious.
Signal caller Wilkes Thomas, still filling in for injured starter Reynolds Barringer, completed 16 of 18 passes for 402 yards and 5 touchdowns. He also ran the ball 5 times for 52 yards and another score.
“Wilkes has definitely exceeded our expectations,” Beaman said. “For a freshman, he’s extremely cool under pressure, makes good decisions, and throws a very catchable ball.”
Receiver Nick Harrison hauled in eight catches for 279 yards and four touchdowns. He made several highlight reel receptions, including a 35-yard scoring pass in which he outdueled a pair of Faith defenders for a 50-50 ball with 18.7 seconds left in the first half.
“Nick’s a tremendous athlete,” Beaman said. “This is his first year of varsity football, and I think he’s come to realize that he’s a pretty good football player.”
For Harrison’s part, he attributed most of his success to his quarterback.
“I was able to make some big plays because Wilkes made such good throws,” Harrison said. “He made it easy for me and the other receivers tonight.”
Thomas was equally effusive in his praise of his wideout.
“Nick made some unbelievable catches,” Thomas said. “He bailed me out on a couple of throws, and he was able to get open on quite a few plays.”
Run-heavy APA turned to the bass after it became clear on its first possession that Faith was selling out to stop the run.
“After a few plays, we realized that we were going to be able to exploit some matchups in the passing game,” Beaman said. “We took what their defense gave us, and Wilkes did an outstanding job of making them pay.”
APA did run the ball quite a bit after building a 47-14 halftime lead and finished with 219 yards on the ground, paced by Morgan McPhaul (63 yards) and leading rusher Trey McLawhorn (eight carries for 56 yards and a touchdown).
McLawhorn also proved valuable as a receiver with 4 catches for 68 yards and a TD.
Defensively, Parrott forced 4 turnovers, an interception by Hunter Blythe, and fumble recoveries by Weaver Sumrell, Dylan Faulkner, and Stewart Hardee.
Arendell Parrott 54, Faith Christian 30
Faith Christian 8 6 8 8—30
Parrott Academy 28 19 7 0—54
P—Nick Harrison 23 pass from Wilkes Thomas (Harrison kick), 7:50
P—Harrison 62 pass from Thomas (Harrison kick), 6:42
F—Shaikey Hardy 35 run (Hobart Brantley run), 5:29
P—Blake Smith 10 run (Harrison kick)
P—Trey McLawhorn 47 pass from Thomas (Harrison kick), 2:29
P—Thomas 9 run (kick blocked), 10:09
P—Harrison 40 pass from Thomas (Harrison kick), 6:49
F—Brantley 11 pass from Chandler Cockrell (run failed), :49.4
P—Harrison 35 pass from Thomas (kick blocked), :18.7
P—McLawhorn 14 run (Harrison kick), 5:34
F—Luke Parker 2 run (Brantley run), 1:36
F—Brantley 79 run (Brantley run), :4.5
First Downs 20 23
Rushes-yards 63-422 29-219
Passing 2-3-1 16-18-1
Passing yards 17 402
Total yards 439 621
Punts-avg. 1-42.0 0-0
Penalties 5-40 6-71
Fumbles-lost 6-3 3-0
RUSHING—Faith: Hobart Brantley 28-256, Shaikey Hardy 10-98, Luke Parker 10-59, Matthew Coffey 9-9, Chandler Cockrell 6-0. Parrott: Morgan McPhaul 4-63, Trey McLawhorn 8-56, Wilkes Thomas 5-52, Aaron Jones 5-20, Blake Smith 3-16, Cole Howard 4-12.
PASSING—Faith: Cockrell 2-3-1 17. Parrott: Thomas 16-18-1 402.
RECEIVING—Faith: Brantley 1-11, Coffey 1-6. Parrott: Nick Harrison 8-279, McLawhorn 4-68, Jonah Beaman 3-39, Stewart Hardee 1-16.