Marietta (Ga.) Walton controlled the clock and had the best player on the field in Tyren Jones on Friday night against Marietta (Ga.) Lasster – but it wasn't enough to spoil the Trojans' homecoming.
Even harder than taking the loss for Raiders quarterback Parker McLeod was the fact that he couldn't play because of ongoing foot injuries.
"Three weeks ago I sprained my right ankle and chipped a bone in the right ankle," said the three-star Alabama commit. "I missed Woodstock (9/21) and played last week, and I got a high ankle sprain on the left. The right one is still kind of swollen, and sore, but I could have played on that."
The combination of ailments forced McLeod to the sidelines, sporting a boot on his right foot.
"It was tough, obviously I want to be out there with my teammates to do anything I can to help them," he said. "I really wanted to play…but I just tried to encourage the guys and keep their head up.
"I tried to help Price (Wilson) as much as possible."
"I just told him to keep his head up and that things are going to get better," McLeod continued, referring to his backup QB Price Wilson. "He did well, it was a tough spot to be thrown into. I think he performed well, on the interceptions he was just trying to create things."
While not playing certainly isn't ideal for the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder, it has provided new perspective on the sport that will enable him to participate at the next level.
"I guess I'm learning how much I love football and how much I miss it," he admitted. "It's so tough to watch from the sidelines and not be able to help out the team. I'm just doing everything I can to get back out there."
As for the Alabama coaching staff's thoughts on the matter, the senior isn't worried about his scholarship or even his recruitment.
"They were a little surprised at first, the first time I got hurt I got there on a Saturday and told them – so they were surprised," said McLeod. "But now, they are all right. They're encouraging, and the scholarship is still there. They know I'll be back and it's not a season-ending injury or anything."
McLeod remains committed to ‘Bama, and won't take any additional official visits this fall. He is planning an official to Tuscaloosa in December, when he can check in on the team in person. The signal-caller has been keeping up with the top-ranked team from home this season as well, particularly with A.J. McCarron.
"A.J.'s played awesome this year," he said. "Our style of play is to control the game and manage the game, and he hasn't thrown an interception this year, which is huge. The offense is going into an awesome direction."
While Walton's wounded QB is pleased with what he's seen from some of his future teammates, he's ready to get back to his own team as soon as possible. Rehab is underway and the schedule in the near future will allow him to miss minimal time in all likelihood.
Said McLeod, "The left one is worse than the right one and that's what's holding me out right now. It's supposed to be four weeks, and that was a week ago. We have a bye week this week, then Wheeler (10/19). So hopefully the game after Wheeler (he'll return)."