Even in football, the best isn’t always the biggest.
Poly Prep quarterback Chris Parker is only 5-foot-6 and 160 pounds, but he’s done enough for coach Dino Mangiero to call him the best player he has had in his 13 seasons with the Blue Devils — and that includes numerous Division-I recruits.
Parker has rushed for more than 2,000 yards in each of his four seasons at the Bay Ridge school, and has had three touchdowns or more in every game this season. The Blue Devils’ lone loss this year came when the senior missed game time because of an injury.
He made his presence felt again last Friday night by scoring three touchdowns and picking up an interception in Poly Prep’s impressive 33–7 home victory over Friendship Academy (D.C.). The Blue Devils (7–1) beat the powerhouse for the first time after losing its first three matchups. Friendship Academy spoiled Poly’s perfect season last year, but nothing could spoil Parker hearing about his coach’s high praise.
“I can’t do anything but smile,” he said. “That’s quite something.”
Parker, who is still waiting for a college scholarship offer, jumpstarted his offense and showed off his blazing speed in the second quarter after a red-zone stop by the Poly defense. He took a sweep 82 yards to the Friendship three-yard line. Two plays later, Parker punched the ball in for a one-yard touchdown and a 7–0 lead for the Blue Devils.
He would march his team down the field again in the second quarter, this time from Poly’s own 23-yard line. He hooked up with freshman wide receiver Fara’ad McCombs twice on the drive for 65 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown pass for a 14–0 lead. Parker then intercepted Friendship’s sophomore quarterback Quan Vines to close out the half.
He used his quickness and agility again midway through the third quarter with a 31-yard touchdown run to put the Blue Devils up 21–0. Senior running back Brenden Femiano took it from there when he found a hole and broke a 26-yard scoring run to give Poly a 27–0 lead.
“We just came out and brought it to them,” said junior tight end Ray Martens. “I was expecting to win, but not like this.”
Friendship made a quarterback change in the fourth quarter and junior Anthony Brown threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Roman Sheefey to make it 27–7. Femiano closed out the scoring with a three-yard touchdown run. The Blue Devil defense only allowed Friendship to get into the red zone three times and forced two turnovers on downs.
“We blitzed a lot on first down,” Marten said. “We didn’t do that all year, so they weren’t expecting that.”
The Blue Devils have just one game remaining against visiting Delbarton on Friday night. Parker wanted to make sure to settle some unfinished business with Friendship Academy before calling it a career.
“They beat us three times in a row,” Parker said. “This is my last year. I needed to win this for my teammates.”