Up-and-coming Parkland could be this year’s dark horse

Up-and-coming Parkland could be this year’s dark horse
September 24
00:00 2015



Don’t be surprised if Parkland turns out to be the surprise team in junior varsity football this season. Prior to today’s match-up against West Forsyth, the Mustangs are 3-1 and showing clear signs that they will no longer be pushovers for anyone.

Recent seasons haven’t produced much excitement for Parkland, which has compiled a 2-23-2 JV  record over the last three seasons. First-year coach Lamont Atwater isn’t interested in dwelling on what has or hasn’t happened in the past. He has no doubts that his team will continue to raise eyebrows and lift the expectations of Parkland’s following.

So far, the Mustangs have victories over Northeast Guilford, Winston-Salem Prep and Walkertown. The lone loss came to Carver.

It’s Atwater’s view that this year’s junior varsity team is a good representation of what the future holds of Parkland’s football future. “I see great things for this group,” he said. “They’re disciplined, aggressive and intelligent. They have the work ethic and the football IQ to do well, not only in the years to come, but right now.”

Offensively, the Mustangs operate from the spread formation with strong-armed quarterback Ty Barber orchestrating matters.

Parkland is well equipped with a mini-squadron of receivers, led by Saveon Hayes, who has developed as a big-play threat anytime he touches the ball.

“Ty really doesn’t have a go-to receiver because he spreads it around to everyone,” said Atwater. “As a group, they get the job done. Up to this point, Saveon has been our most consistent pass-catcher.”

The ground game is in capable hands with the tandem of Devon Rucker and Joc Roseboro. They have different running styles, but complement each other well.

Rucker is at his best when running between the tackles, especially in short-yardage situations. Roseboro, on the other hand, is diminutive (5-feet-3, 160 pounds), but exceptionally difficult to handle because of his foot speed and ability to accelerate and change directions quickly.

A prime factor in Parkland’s resurgence is the defense. The Mustangs employ a 5-3 set, which has played well with lots of help from linebackers Brian Holman, Myric White, Jalen McClean, Lee Kpbga and Regan Wilkins.

Holman, a returnee from last year’s JV team, has established himself as the undisputed leader. “Brian is the quarterback of the defense,” said Atwater. “He knows our scheme and knows everything that needs to be done. Because of his knowledge, we’re able to move him around a lot.

“Even though he’s not very big for his position (5-feet-8, 160 pounds), he’s strong, physical and fast. Those are the type of players you have to have to be excellent on defense.”

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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