Brett Parke is normally a wide receiver for Maize South, but he was moved to running back two weeks ago after Jacob Perez suffered a knee injury.
In his new position, Parke ran in three touchdowns, rushing for 141 yards on 24 carries in Maize South’s 49-0 victory over Andover Central on Friday night.
Maize South has secured home-field advantage in the Class 4A-I playoffs by winning District 6, finishing their regular season with an 8-1 record. The Mavericks play host to Ulysses (4-5) in a first-round game next Friday.
“(Playing) behind Jake is big shoes to fill,” Parke said. “I played quarterback my freshman year and I know how to get in between the tackles. The (offensive) line does a great job for me out there.”
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Quarterback Ethan Richardson started the Maize South offense with a 37-yard run to put the Mavericks on Andover Central’s 6-yard line. Richardson capped off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to give Maize South a 7-0 lead with 7:13 left in the first quarter.
After Parke rushed for 27 yards for two Maize South first downs, Andrew Bliss picked up a 12-yard and 15-yard run to put the Mavericks in the red zone. Richardson scored his second rushing touchdown with a 13-yard run to extend the Maize South lead to 14-0 with six minutes left in the second quarter.
“The running game was great tonight when we needed it to be,” Maize South coach Brent Pfeifer said. “(The offensive line) did a great job tonight picking up some different blitzes and doing their job to make good holes for those guys.”
Andover Central went for a fake punt pass, but an interception by Tyler White gave the ball back to the Mavericks. Richardson continued to punish the Andover Central defense on Maize South’s next drive, connecting to Nolan Veenis with a 44-yard touchdown pass to put Maize South up 21-0.
“Getting those runs early opened up the passing game,” Richardson said. “Both the run and pass gave us more options (for the offense).”
On Andover Central’s next possession, Max Domnick sacked Reagan Jones to force a fumble and give the ball back to Maize South on the Jaguars’ 19-yard line. A nine yard pass from Richardson to Corey Minks set up a six-yard Parke touchdown to push the Maize South lead to 28-0.
The Mavericks finished the half with Richardson completing three passes for 74 yards, setting up Parke’s 1-yard run for a 35-0 halftime lead.
“Each game is important to us. This one jump-starts you into the playoffs,” Pfeifer said. “This is a big one for us.”
MS — Richardson 2 run (Sheehan kick)
MS — Richardson 13 run (Sheehan kick)
MS — Vennis 44 pass from Richardson (Sheehan kick)
MS — Parke 6 run (Sheehan kick)
MS — Parke 1 run (Sheehan kick)
MS — Parke 1 run (Kick missed)
MS —Wituk 3 pass from Richardson (Conversion good)
Rushing — Andover Central, S. Anthemides 18-55; Maize South, Parke 24-141-3, Richardson 10-69-2, Bliss 11-96, Minks 4-5, Ja. Swafford 6-46
Passing — Andover Central, Jones 5-14-0-1-47, Thomas 0-1-0-1-0; Maize South, Richardson 8-10-2-138
Receiving — Andover Central, Bell 2-7, I . Anthemides 2-33, Stamp 1-6; Maize South, Wituk 3-11-1, Veenis 1-44-1, Minks 3-38, Seiler 1-45.