Roosevelt's Parker goes out with a bang
Just 10 minutes after his team lost a never-in-doubt 56-21 game to Glenn for the Long Island Class IV championship, with the postgame handshakes already done and his shoulders still slightly slumped from the bruising defeat, Roosevelt's Erin Parker had one last thing to say.
With Glenn's Mike Tufano on his way out of Hofstra's Shuart Stadium, Parker walked over, greeted him warmly and told him, "Good game."
"I'm proud of how our guys acted, 'cause that's what a Roosevelt kid does," coach Joe Vito said. "When it was getting out of hand, I didn't hear any complaining. You can get mad at each other, and they didn't. They stayed together."
Friday afternoon was the last game of an electric high school career for Parker, and the senior turned in a representative performance. Already the holder of the county's public school single-season rushing record, Parker ran for 154 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns, including a 67-yarder with 5:38 left that cut the Rough Riders' deficit to 56-21. He also threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Marquell Saunders just before halftime.
"Erin's a special player," Vito said. "He's a guy that can make things happen on his own. You kind of give Erin the ball and hope for good things."
But even Parker's performance wasn't enough as Glenn took a 35-0 lead early in the second quarter. Roosevelt was intercepted five times and allowed a touchdown on a punt return.
"We made some mistakes, and every mistake was costly," Vito said. "They got the ball in great field position or were scoring touchdowns."
Parker finished the season with 2,426 rushing yards, far exceeding the previous Nassau record of 2,241 set by South Side's Bryant Daniels in 2001. He broke the mark during the Nassau IV championship win over East Rockaway. But the yards he gained Friday served as little more than ointment after such a stinging loss.
"It's a big accomplishment, but I can't give it all to myself," Parker said. "I have to give it to my line, my fullback, my receivers. Everybody gave me blocks and I just had to use my vision to run through."
Parker traditionally takes the offensive line out for dinner after a 200-yard rushing game. But even after falling 46 yards short Friday, he said he will treat his teammates.
"They worked hard," he said. "They got us where we hadn't been since 2006. Where we haven't gone in a long time."