NEW ORLEANS — Much like his linemen approach a play, coach Kenny Guillot approached a question about how good the 2012 Parkview Baptist football team was head-on.
It was a fair question to ask, especially after the top-seeded Eagles dispatched No. 2 Notre Dame 42-7 in the Class 3A title game that helped highlight Saturday’s action at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association/State Farm Prep Classic.
“I know this is going to be misquoted in the paper,” Guillot said. “This is the best team we’ve had at Parkview. When I say team, I mean they were a team. They were very unselfish.
“No real superstars, just a lot of great athletes playing well together and being unselfish. And I think that is the key. No drama and nobody pouting because they didn’t get the ball. This was a special group.”
The Eagles (13-0) turned in extraordinary performance Saturday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to garner the school’s fourth state title. PBS also won titles in 2001, 2007 and 2010.
Based on the margin of victory, comparisons between this Parkview team and the one that defeated Belle Chasse 61-19 to win the 2001 title are inevitable. Both squads featured potent offenses. It was the multidimensional effort and the ability to overcome adversity that sets the 2012 Eagles apart.
“We’ve got big ole powerful running backs,” Guillot said. “They run their buns off, and the line loves blocking for them.”
Parkview gashed the Notre Dame defense for 321 rushing yards with Erik Martinez leading the way, tallying a game-high 102 yards on nine carries.
Most of Martinez’s runs came on timely option pitches by quarterback Brennan Bozeman, who was voted PBS’ Outstanding Player after running for three touchdowns and passing for another.
However, two of the game’s biggest plays were on special teams. After seeing his first point-after kick sail off the mark, Taylor Black came back on the next play to execute and recover an onside kick. Soon, a 1-yard TD run by Hezekiah Randolph turned what was a 7-6 deficit into a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.
Bozeman’s 21-yard TD pass to Seth Shah sent the Eagles into the locker room with a 21-7 lead. Instead of patiently waiting to return a NDHS punt in the third quarter, Michael Tarwater blocked it. That play led to Bozeman’s 1-yard TD run and a 28-7 lead.
“I was just glad to be able to do that to help my team,” Tarwater said.
Adversity takes on many forms during a typical football season.
This season was not typical for PBS. Lineman Sam Wimberly died in February following a brief illness. Early in the season, Wimberly’s No. 56 became the first football number retired by PBS.
Wimberly’s framed jersey was on the sideline Saturday. The Eagles held up the jersey and celebrated with fans afterward.
An in-game adjustment was just as telling. High blood pressure issues sent PBS offensive coordinator Scott Dieterich to a Baton Rouge hospital early Saturday. By the time the Eagles were on their way back from New Orleans, Dieterich was resting at home.
Offensive line coach Matt Shelton, a 1999 PBS graduate, stepped in, using a detailed script Dieterich had prepared before the game.
“Everbody stepped up and played a role,” Guillot said. “It was a team effort.”