The Slide Continues for Coach Hill.

The slide continues for Spartan football, as yet another "L" stakes it's claim on the Fitz Hill mining camp. Neil Parry's return to the field seemed to energize the Spartans, but the magic ran dry as the Spartans lose another game.

Neil Parry was on the field for all of 15 seconds, about 10 seconds of official playing time, but it was enough to fulfill a dream and nearly change the course of a football game.

Parry, a fifth-year senior from Sonora who came to San Jose State as a walk-on, had to pace the sidelines for more than three periods, waiting for his chance as San Jose State fell behind.

A member of the punt-return team, Parry was kept off the field because San Jose State's defense could not force Nevada to punt, a shortcoming that ultimately led to the Wolf Pack's 42-30 victory Thursday at Spartan Stadium.

The anxiety in the Spartan Stadium press box had been approaching panic level when the third-quarter ended and Parry still had not played. A horde of out-of-town media people were there specifically to see Parry play in a football game three years after having his right leg amputated just below the knee as the result of a football injury.

He finally entered the game with 13:38 remaining in the fourth period, and proceeded to disappoint himself for not doing much on his one play.

"Everything I pictured in my mind to set out to do, I didn't do,'' Parry said afterward.

Parry ran in, lined up opposite Nevada's right guard, took a hit from Nevada's Carl LaGrone, peeled back to block, and failed to get a piece of anyone. His job was done. He loped back to the sidelines and walked head down to the far end of the bench area as teammates hugged him and slapped his helmet.

"I was mad at that point," Parry said. "I didn't hit anybody and that's all I wanted to do." Parry had played with a prosthetic leg, something Texas Tech kicker Brian Hall had done in the 1970s and something defensive tackle Richard Busacca had done for Division I-AA Marist in the early 1990s.

Many in the Spartan Stadium crowd of 10,173 had come to see him do what he did. They nearly got to see his presence spur a comeback, too. Down by as much as 32-10 early in the third period, San Jose State was within 35-24 when Parry finally played. His participation seemed to energize the crowd and the team.

"It came at the right time,'' Spartan quarterback Scott Rislov said.

A 37-yard touchdown pass from Rislov to Jamal Broussard cut the deficit to five, 35-30, with more than 10 minutes left. But that was as close as the Spartans (1-3, 0-1 in the Western Athletic Conference) could get. The Wolf Pack (2-1, 1-0) stopped San Jose State on the Spartans' next possession then pushed across another touchdown with a little more than four minutes left. The comeback had been left in the dust of Nevada's 563 yards of total offense, which included 156 rushing yards by Chance Kretschmer.

But at least Parry's played, which seemed in doubt for some time. Time after time, Nevada had converted third downs into first downs to keep Parry off the field. The Wolf Pack converted their first seven third-down situations, and by halftime, Parry was still a non-participant.

"Maybe someone upstairs was testing him to see if he's really ready,'' said his brother Josh Parry, a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.

As he waited, the younger Parry told himself that one more game would not matter. He had waited for three years already.

"Three years; it's a lot of time to think about one thing,'' said Josh.

He had been thinking about it since a teammate had rolled into the side of his leg during kickoff coverage in a game against Texas El Paso in 2000.

Several days later, his leg was amputated. The next day he said he would play football again.


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