Kenneth Peyton wasn’t supposed to play Friday night. He definitely wasn’t supposed to have the ball in his hands with the game on the line.
But with 5:21 left and Parkview Baptist in desperate need of a touchdown, Peyton heard his name called.
Not wasting a second, the senior fullback busted a run right up the middle of the Lutcher defensive line, taking the ball 6 yards for a crucial score.
Fellow fullback Parker Kirby — who sat out the previous few plays with a stinger — followed with a successful two-point conversion, putting the finishing touches on a 15-point comeback to push Parkview to a 29-28 road win over Lutcher in the district opener.
“They honestly didn’t think I was going to play at all this week until yesterday,” Peyton said. “Parker Kirby came out, and they were hollering my name, and I knew when we were down on the goal line it was just hard-nosed football. They gave it to me, and I knew I had to punch it in.”
Peyton tore his MCL two weeks ago, and coaches told him he could play his usual linebacker role on defense but would get at most 10 snaps on offense. He only got two, but one was the touchdown.
Instead, Parkview (3-3, 1-0) spread the ball out to six rushers for 306 yards and four touchdowns on 47 carries.
Quarterback Alexander Aucoin led the Eagles with 108 yards on 14 carries to go with 60 yards on 4-of-9 passing.
"When we're staying ahead of the chains and not putting the ball on the ground and we're running the offensive efficiently, it's effective," coach Jay Mayet said. "We did that tonight when we needed to."
The Eagles fought back from a 14-point deficit with less than a minute to play in the third quarter.
With about 20 minutes to play, Lutcher (1-5, 0-1) had already put together several long drives and was moving the ball effectively.
That’s when Peyton and a few of his fellow seniors gathered the team for a pep talk.
The Bulldogs didn't score again.
“We were a little down, honestly,” Peyton said. “Our defense had given up two long passes for touchdowns. We were down. Me and Evan Chaney, our defensive end, we got everyone under the tent and told them, ‘We’ve got 20 minutes left on the clock. We’ve got a whole lot more football to play.’ The attitude switched just like that.”
Lutcher took advantage of several early Parkview errors, including a pair of fumbles the Bulldogs turned into touchdowns. Wide receiver Jacoby Williams scored two rushing touchdowns in the first quarter and a 23-yard touchdown reception later on.
But ultimately it wasn’t enough.
“We took advantage of those turnovers, and we just needed one more play down the stretch on either side of the ball, and we just didn’t come up with it,” Lutcher coach Dwain Jenkins said.