While his teammates were getting ready for Friday’s Class 3A state semifinal, Parkview Baptist quarterback Brennan Bozeman remained behind in the team’s locker room getting intravenous fluids.
A bout with food poisoning the evening before left Bozeman somewhat weak and uncertain whether he would even take the field or take a snap in the season’s biggest game.
“I didn’t feel good at all today,” Bozeman said. “There was a possibility I wasn’t going to play. We talked about splitting snaps, but the doctors fixed me up and got me hydrated.”
Not to worry, though, as Bozeman not only lined up center for Parkview, but under the circumstances, delivered a memorable three-touchdown performance, leading the No. 1 Eagles to a convincing 49-6 victory Friday over No. 5 Livonia before a capacity crowd that ringed around Parkview Stadium.
Parkview (12-0) will try and add to its collection of three state championships with its fourth appearance in six years in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome next Saturday at 4 p.m. The Eagles will encounter No. 2 Notre Dame-Crowley, a 16-14 winner over No. 22 East Feliciana.
“These kids have overcome a lot of adversity, stayed the course and believed in the coaches and the program,” Parkview Baptist coach Kenny Guillot said. “It makes it special.”
Livonia (11-3) concluded a magical run to that ended with the school’s first semifinal appearance and had a six-game win streak snapped.
“Against good football teams, we had to play close to perfect, and we absolutely didn’t do that tonight,” Livonia coach David Brewerton said. “When you do that against great teams, this is what happens.”
Guillot said he learned of Bozeman’s availabilty for the game three minutes before kickoff after going through pregame warm-ups with senior Dillon Harris. He also had fellow senior Austin Suits ready to go if needed.
Bozeman carried nine times for 127 yards and three touchdowns, including consecutive scores just before half and midway through the third quarter that started to pave Parkview’s familiar road back to New Orleans.
Wingback Erik Martinez, who scored on his team’s first offensive play on a 70-yard run, added an 81-yard score in the third quarter to lead the Eagles with 167 yards on six attempts.
Parkview piled up 382 rushing yards on 37 carries and outgained Livonia 389-247.
The Wildcats, who lost starting quarterback Ben Todd late in the first quarter with a knee injury, were paced by Malcolm Dedrick’s 108 yards and a score on nine attempts. Reserve quarterback Kerry Savoy was 9 of 17 for 87 yards and was intercepted once.
“I’m very excited,” Guillot said. “It’s special. They’re all special. This is a special team. They have different qualities.”
Bozeman’s 3-yard touchdown in the final minute of play before halftime touched off a devastating blitz in which Parkview reeled off 35 unanswered points — including a 21-0 third-quarter surge —to open a commanding 42-6 advantage going into the fourth quarter.
The Eagles needed a total of eight plays to score four successive touchdowns in the second half in which Bozeman scored on runs of 35 and 69 yards, respectively, while Martinez added an 81-yard score and Hezekiah Randolph a 14-yard TD following Hunter Brian’s interception.
Defensive lineman Michael Tarwater came up with Parkview’s second fumble recovery of the first half — this time at Livonia’s 6-yard line — which the Eagles converted into a score right before halftime to make it 21-6.
“In that situation at 14-6 with three minutes (2:48) to go, we get a turnover and have the ball back,” Brewerton said. “At that point, we turn the ball over and they punch one just before half, and I think that was really a dagger.”
Parkview went up 14-0 late in the first quarter on Martinez’s long distance run and added a defensive score when Brian dislodged Todd from the football. Victor Gutierrez, who had 13 tackles, scooped it up and went 49 yards for a touchdown — the juncture at which Livonia lost Todd for the game.
Livonia, which had 27 yards of offense through five series, cut into Parkview’s lead with a 3-play, 92-yard drive with Dedrick scoring from 53 yards out with 5:24 before the half only to have Parkview answer following a turnover with Bozeman’s second-effort carrying him across the goal line from three yards.
“I knew we needed to score,” Bozeman said. “We got that turnover, but they stuffed us on the first couple of plays, and then we punched it in. I felt terrible at the start of the game, but I told coach I felt good to go right before the game.”