Parker Is Biggest Playmaker In 6A Showdown

JENKS, Okla. – There were playmakers all over the field Friday night when No. 1-ranked Class 6A Jenks faced third-ranked Broken Arrow. Oklahoma State has commitments from three of those playmakers and would like to see at least two more playing in Stillwater. Steven Parker of Jenks was the biggest playmaker as the Trojans defeated the Tigers 28-7 at Hunter-Dwelley Stadium.

Parker, a 6-2, 185-pound standout receiver/safety who rarely leaves the field for the Trojans, made game-changing plays on both sides of the ball to turn the tide in the favor of Jenks on Friday night.

Broken Arrow drove the length of the field to begin the second half to tie the game 7-7. The Trojans took over on their own 43-yard line after a pooch kickoff, and Parker made the play of the game just a few plays later, catch a pass from Jenks quarterback Cooper Nunley, breaking a tackle and then sprinting down the sideline for a 53-yard touchdown.

"I thought it was my time to make a play. The coaches found a weakness in their coverage, they wanted to pick on the corners, especially with my size, and we finally got that opportunity. Once I got the ball in my hands it was just time," said Parker, who finished with three catches for 67 yards and also five tackles from his safety position.

The Tigers took over on their own 20 following a touchback on the kickoff. OSU commit Devon Thomas, who would finish with 54 rushing yards on 18 carries (but had a 68-yard run from BA's own 2-yard line to the Jenks 28 called back by a penalty in the first half), gained four yards on first down. However, he limped off the field with leg cramps following the play (and only came back on the field for one play the remainder of the game).

Parker took advantage on the very next play, stripping the Tigers' backup running back of the ball to give Jenks possession on the 34. Four plays later the Trojans scored again on running back Trent Taber's 1-yard scoring run to make it 21-7.

"I saw the ball right there, it just looked vulnerable, so I took a chance at it, ended up stripping it and got the ball," said Parker.

"He can make a play any time you need him to," said Jenks senior Dylan Harding, who joined Broken Arrow's Devon Thomas and Gyasi Akem as Oklahoma State commitments playing in the game. "He's a great guy, a great teammate. He's a playmaker, and it's great to have him play safety with me back there."

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy and Cowboys running backs coach Jemal Singleton were both in attendance, watching Harding, Thomas and Akem, while also keeping an eye on several other prospects, including Parker and Jenks junior defensive tackle Marquise Overton.

"You play the same game but you want to play good for him," Harding said of Gundy watching from the sideline. "It was nice to have him out here. I didn't get to talk to him because he didn't want to waste a visit but it was nice to know he was going to be here watching."

Gundy and the Cowboys would love to add Parker to their recruiting class. But so would just about every other team in the nation. The Jenks senior has more than 20 offers, including Alabama, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Michigan, USC, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and others.

Parker said after the game that he is trying to decide where he will make his official visits but gave no timetable for when those will take place.

One player who doesn't have to worry about official visits just yet is Overton, the 300-pound defensive tackle who may have been the best player on the field. Broken Arrow had trouble blocking him all night, as the unofficial stats showed him with seven tackles, one sack and another tackle for loss.

Overton said after the game that he probably didn't get credit for his best tackle, breaking through the line when Broken Arrow was backed up to its goal line for what he thought was a safety. The officials placed the ball at the half-yard line.

The Jenks junior already has eight offers, including Oklahoma State, Baylor, Illinois, Mississippi, Oregon State, Texas Tech, Toledo and Tulsa.

Akem, the Broken Arrow defensive end, finished with five tackles, including the Tigers only sack of Nunley.


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