After 47 crazy minutes of football, it all came down to a 2-point conversion play and thankfully for the Parkway South football team, its defense came through when it mattered.
Marquette quarterback Robby Mills swung a bubble screen pass out left to wideout Wendell Bronner with blocking help ahead of him, but Bronner was stopped by Patriots defense half a yard short of forcing overtime.
Parkway South recovered the ensuing onside kick, and ran out the final 49 seconds with a pair of kneel downs, holding on for a wild 42-40 win on Homecoming Night at Parkway South High School.
“Our defense made the stop when we needed it to,” Parkway South coach Joe Rosewell said. “A half a yard is as good as 99 yards there.”
It was a sweet and overdue victory for Parkway South (3-5) as the Patriots snapped a three-game losing streak in the process.
“We have talked about getting a little bit better each week against these Class 6 schools we have been playing,” Rosewell said. “Last week we didn’t quite finish against Kirkwood but this week we were able to finally finish and I’m proud of these guys.”
For the Patriots, it was the work of running back Darrione Stewart that allowed them to rack up the points against Marquette.
Stewart behind a senior-laden offensive line had a career-best game, rushing for 298 yards on 30 carries with three scores.
“I have had some big games before but nothing like this tonight,” Stewart said. “It’s definitely the best night I have had but I have got to give it up to my offensive line. They did a tremendous job giving me holes to run through.”
“Our line is a senior-heavy group and we knew with Darrione running behind them that we could do some special things this year,” Rosewell said. “They have gotten better each week.”
South grabbed the early lead on a 10-yard quarterback keeper run by Nick Chandler with 8:30 left int he first quarter.
Marquette (3-5) responded in the second quarter on a 1-yard scoring run by William Sturgill to cut the lead to 7-6. The extra point failed but the Mustangs went ahead three minutes later on a 9-yard touchdown run from Kyle Mill. Mill was the Mustangs lead horse in the ground game with 235 yards rushing on 25 carries.
South got back to the end zone once more before the half, as Chandler finished off a drive with a 2-yard touchdown run for a 14-13 lead at the break.
In the third quarter, Stewart broke loose in the run game with a pair of touchdowns as he scored on runs of 41 and 90 yard yards to push the Patriots to a 28-13 lead with 6:02 to go in the third quarter.
On the next drive, the Mustangs answered as Mill broke loose and raced 55 yards for a touchdown to cut the gap to 28-20.
The Patriots started the fourth quarter with a couple more scores as Stewart finished off a drive with his final score of the night on a 6-yard yard. Chandler scored his third TD of the night on 18-yard scamper to make it 42-20 with 4:32 left.
Marquette came roaring back with three touchdowns in a 3-minute stretch. On the Mustangs next series, Mills hit Eric Tow on an 80-yard sideline route and Tow slipped a pair of tackles and zipped to the end zone for a touchdown. Mills connected on 19 of 29 passes for 242 yards with two touchdowns. After recovering an onside kick at the 50, Marquette pulled within 42-34 on an 11-yard scoring pass from Mills to Presley Ingraham with 2:49 left.
South was forced to punt on its next drive and the Mustangs took that drive and Mills finished it off with a 3-yard TD run cutting it to 42-40 with just 49 seconds left.
Then came the bubble screen to Bronner that came up just short of the goal line.
Marquette coach Matt Klein gave his club credit for not folding when the game was about to get away.
“We were fortunate to get back into the game,” Klein said. “You can’t play like we did and expect to win. We executed better in the second half.”