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Friday, November 15th, 2013

Parkway won playoff debut in 1999

Last Curtain Call

By Robb Hemmelgarn
The Parkway Panthers began the 1999 football season on a rampage, barreling through their first five games unscathed.
Suddenly though, the Panthers slammed into a wall in their always-brutal Midwest Athletic Conference schedule. Four losses in the second half of the season dropped Vic Wallace's crew to 6-4 overall, but they clung to the hope that they could still qualify for the first postseason appearance in school history as the OHSAA had just expanded the playoff format to allow eight teams per region.
When the news arrived that they wrapped up the year as an eight seed, their end-of-season downslide was suddenly an afterthought.
"A couple of us were at a youth group meeting at a friend's house when we found out we were in," recalled team captain Luke Clouse. "Coach Wallace called us and asked us to come and meet for film. It was really a shock for most of the guys I was around at the time."
Parkway's postseason excursion began on the road at unbeaten and top-seeded Waynesville, which was enjoying its first playoff appearance since 1981 when Marion Local eliminated them in the opening round.
"We were very excited and it was a great time for the school and the entire community," commented Trey Stover, who was a sophomore on the squad. "I remember watching Waynesville on tape and feeling that we could beat them. Coach Wallace talked about how they were the number-one seed in the region and we were eighth. He reminded us that the numbers weren't a big deal and we would win if we just played our game. We were excited to have the opportunity to knock off the top-seeded team in the region."
Although it appeared to be a mismatch on paper, it took Parkway very little time to dispatch that assumption. Just two plays and 32 seconds into the game, the Panthers punched Waynesville in the jaw when receiver Cole Van Gundy reeled in a pass from quarterback Troy Temple and scampered 25 yards to the end zone. First team All-MAC kicker Lucas Bowen's PAT kick split the uprights and the Panthers were up 7-0 and never bothered to look back.
"Grabbing the first score of the game was extremely important from a momentum standpoint," explained Schumm. "Waynesville had a pretty explosive offense that season, so by getting on the scoreboard first it allowed our defense the opportunity to rise to the occasion, which they were able to do."
Midway through the same period, Galen Schumm was tackled in the end zone for a safety, but the Panthers followed with a pair of field goals by Bowen and Parkway had a 13-2 advantage at halftime.
The scoreboard sat idle through much of the third quarter before Temple zeroed in on Trey Stover at the 4:01 mark for a 31-yard touchdown strike for a 20-2 lead.
The Panthers added one more touchdown in the final quarter when Clayton Davis crushed through the Waynesville defense for an 8-yard TD jaunt, vaulting his team in front 27-2. Bowen booted his third PAT kick of the night to extend the Panthers' lead to 28-2, the score by which Parkway went on to claim the win.
"I don't think a lot of people on Waynesville's sidelines or in the stands thought much of us coming in as a number-eight seed," commented former defensive end Tyler Thompson. "Three of our four losses came to teams that made it to state that season and two of them won it all. We knew we were prepared for them and our goal was to go in and hit them hard, which we accomplished before getting on the bus home with the win."
Davis spearheaded the offense in the victory with 125 yards rushing on 18 carries while Schumm chipped in 105 yards in the winning effort. From the pocket, Temple tossed for 122 yards to five different receivers, paced by Bill Rumple's 44 yards.
"Making it to the first playoff game in school history is something my friends and I will always remember," remarked Schumm. "We finished the regular season with four losses but the Midwest Athletic Conference prepared us well for our first playoff game against the top team in the region. There were many good teams at Parkway before we came along, but unfortunately none of them had the opportunity to go to the playoffs. We worked extremely hard that season and it was an absolute thrill to be the first to do it."
Additional online story on this date
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