It was a disappointing end to a season that went beyond all expectations for Notre Dame and head coach Lewis Cook.
“It was pretty evident who the best team was in this game, but it was pretty amazing for this team to be here. We had great chemistry and great leadership from our seniors and they can take pride in exceeding all expectations by playing in Week 15.”
Parkview was virtually unstoppable after a defensive first quarter. The Eagles scored 42 unanswered points and put up 416 yards of total offense to just 162 for the Pios and only 45 of those yards coming after the opening quarter.
“Our kids played hard, played fast and played physical,” said Parkview Coach Kenny Guillot. “I felt the whole game would be like the first quarter, so I am truly shocked by the score.”
Notre Dame had a chance to get on the board first, moving 44 yards on runs of 15 and 20 yards by Luke Broussard on the Pios first possession. A 40-yard field goal attempt by Dustin Reiners was wide right.
The Pios defense kept control of the game with third down stops on the first two Parkview possessions. Sammie Graf came up with a stop on third and three and Nate Link dropped the Eagles for no gain on third and two forcing a punt to the ND 27.
From there, Notre Dame marched 73 yards in nine plays for a 7-0 lead with 28 seconds to play in the first quarter.
Luke Broussard got the drive going with a 14 yard run after breaking a tackle in the backfield. On third and 13, QB Brad Stoma hit Nick Benoit on a quick slant for 17 yards to the Parkview 41.
Stoma came right back on the next snap with a 36 yard completion to John Michael Besse on a post down the middle. Two plays later, Austin Thibodeaux scored from two yards out and Reiners added the point after.
“Our first two drives we kind of had our way with them,” added Cook. “They crowded the line and there seemed like there was always one guy we could barely get a piece of and couldn’t stay on our blocks.”
Parkview came storming back, Hezekiah Randolph taking an option pitch for 19 yards into Pios territory. On fourth and two from the ND 20, Kip Credeur jarred the ball loose from Randolph and Caleb Lambousy recovered to halt the threat.
The Eagles defense forced a three and out and were back on the move with Erik Martinez, who averaged 11 yards a carry for the game and gained 102 yards, running 26 yards with an option pitch around the left side. From the Notre Dame 17, Randolph took it straight up the middle, dragging two tacklers with him over the goal line. The extra point was wide and the Pios held on to a 7-6 lead.
It didn’t last very long.
Parkview surprised the Pios with an onside kick following the score and kicker Taylor Black recovered at the ND 44.
“I have to credit our coaches with that call,” said Parkview’s Guillot. “They felt Notre Dame kind of bailed out early on the approach and it was worth trying.”
On third and 12, QB Brennan Bozeman completed a pass down the middle to Randolph who again carried tacklers to the Pios one. The senior tailback got the carry and went in untouched for the go ahead score. Randolph, who carried 15 times for 87 yards and two scored in the game, then ran in a 2-pt conversion for a 14-7 Parkview lead.
“The onside kick got them on top, but I’m not sure it was really a turning point,” said Cook. “We couldn’t get efficient enough on offense to make it a game and left our defense out there way too much. Had the kick not happened, the way they were playing it would have probably gotten to that somewhere down the line because they were just that much better than us.”
Another three and punt for the Pios offense set up Parkview at the Eagles 32 with 2:10 left in the half. QB Brennan Bozeman tucked it in on a down the line option and turned up field for 22 yards on first down.
On second down from the Pios 31 with 50 seconds remaining until halftime, Bozeman faked the dive, drew the defense in and threw over the top and into the end zone to Seth Shah for a touchdown. Black added the PAT for a 21-7 Parkview lead.
Notre Dame ran just seven offensive plays in the second quarter and gained three yards after 117 in the first quarter. Parkview turned the game with the onside kick and doubled its plays with 20 snaps and 183 second quarter yards.
Parkview put it out of reach on the first possession of the second half stopping the Pios on three plays for the third straight possession. Sophomore nose guard Michael Tarwater shot through the middle to block the Dustin Reiners punt and the Eagles took over at the Pios 31.
Parkview kept the football for nine plays and over four minutes, converting a fourth down and third down to punch it in for the score. QB Bozeman hit a quick slant to Tom Wing for five yards on fourth and three to the Pios 19.
On third and six at the 15, Bozeman turned inside on the option and took it 10 yards to the Pios five. Two plays later, Bozeman followed his center in to end zone for a 28-7 lead with six minutes left in the quarter.
“Bozeman was the key to the game for them,” continued Cook. “The decisions he makes, the passes he makes out of their running game, his execution is so good that it is tough to stop all the options they have with him at quarterback.”
A pass interference penalty moved the Pios across midfield on the next possession, but Eagles LB Hunter Brian stepped in front of a Stoma pass at the Parkview 19 and returned the interception to the Pios 45.
The Eagles needed just four plays to increase the lead, Erik Martinez taking a pitch around the left side for 34 yards on first down. Two plays later, Bozeman optioned down the line and kept for a two yard TD. Black kicked the PAT to make it 35-7.
“We made an adjustment, installed a play or two for this game and it worked out for us,” noted senior QB Bozeman who rushed for 70 yards and three TDs and completed 5-of-8 passes for 95 yards and a score to earn Parkview Player of the Game. “We knew they would be tough inside and try to shut us down there. We felt they would give less regard to the pitch man and we were able to make some plays outside.”
Parkview left little doubt by keeping the ball for almost the entire fourth quarter. The Eagles drove 86 yards on an 18-play drive that lasted 11 minutes and 26 seconds and the first 10:04 of the fourth quarter. Fittingly for Parkview, QB Bozeman optioned left on a fourth down play at the Pios 15 and ran untouched for the final score of the night and a 42-7 win.
“I told our kids that this was the best team we have ever had at Parkview,” summed up Guillot. “We have some great athletes, very unselfish players, no drama, no pouting, just a bunch of guys who play hard together and may not be the best individual talents but are the best team.”
That is a concept that has carried Notre Dame to a lot of wins over the years and 12 this season for a senior class including linebacker Kipp Credeur who was named Pios Player of the Game after being in on 20 tackles against Parkview.
“We played to try and win, not for tackles,” said Credeur. “No one is ever concerned with tackles or carries or yards. Notre Dame is all about team. Hopefully, we can take some positives out of this for the guys coming back next year.”
It is a disappointing ending, but this group can take pride in returning and continuing the tradition for what already looks to be a talented group returning next season.