Nearly a year after deciding the Division II state championship in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, District 6-3A rivals University High and Parkview Baptist returned outdoors Friday to deliver yet another classic.
The Cubs, who rallied to win their first state title in 26 years, found themselves in a similar situation through just over two quarters of play.
Quarterback D.J. White and running back Michael Hollins powered a rugged rushing attack to propel top-ranked U-High to a 29-21 victory over No. 3 Parkview Baptist before a jammed-packed crowd at Richard Gill Stadium-Jeff Boss Field.
“It was a great battle with a lot of big plays and momentum swings,” U-High coach Chad Mahaffey said. “They had a lot of things going early in the first half. I was proud of our team to keep battling because you know they’re not going to quit and our guys aren’t going to quit either.”
Parkview (4-3, 3-1), which finished the opening half with a touchdown, opened with the second half with a 34-yard scoring run from quarterback Reggie Hayes for a 12-7 lead at the 9:10 mark.
U-High (6-1, 4-0) quickly answered with an 10-play, 80-yard drive in which White capped the 4:17 drive with a 1-yard scoring run for a 14-12 lead following Aidan Gayle’s extra point.
Two plays later, Cubs’ defensive back Malik Antoine, a Stanford commitment, returned a fumble 20 yards to Parkview’s 22, setting the stage for Hollins’ 6-yard TD run and a 21-12 edge, erasing a five-point deficit within a six-minute span.
U-High rushed 51 times for 312 yards with Hollins leading the way with 144 yards on 26 carries, while White added 110 on 13 tries.
Parkview closed to within 21-15 on Wade Simmons’ 33-yard field with 12 seconds left in the third quarter and traded touchdowns within a four-minute span to account for the final score.
White gave U-High a 29-15 lead on a 22-yard keeper on fourth down, only to have Parkview answer with a seven-play, 43-yard drive that Kayin White capped with a 5-yard score with 4:26 remaining in the game.
The Eagles forced a three-and-out, drove to the Cubs’ 41 where Hayes was sacked twice by Vondero Weir with help from Jeremy Jetson with 2:10 left.
Hayes wound up with 194 all-purpose yards, passing for 82, returning two kickoffs for 57 and rushing 19 times for 55 yards.
“I’m never going to question the effort our kids played with,” said PBS coach Jay Mayet, whose team allowed 14 points off turnovers, missed three extra points and a field goal. “I thought that was spectacular tonight. We’ve just got to clean some things up.”
PBS, which came up empty on a pair of first-quarter red zone possessions, took a 7-6 halftime lead on Hayes’ 8-yard TD pass to Connor Joffrion on the final play of the quarter.
U-High led 7-0 early in the second quarter when Dylan Moses finished off an 80-yard march from 3 yards out.
“We try and tell our kids it’s going to be a battle and there’s going to be ups and downs,” Mahaffey said. “We went through that with them in the championship, so you know it’s going to happen. You just try and not panic and keep playing.”