Parkview Baptist senior running back Hezekiah Randolph has never allowed the glimmer of his 2010 Class 3A state championship ring to hide its true symbolism.
It’s always served as a reflection of a collective journey taken along a selfless path by a some young men in pursuit of a common goal.
“It says you were a part of the state championship, and that’s the only thing that matters to this team,” Randolph said. “It’s a matter of where we end up and how good we can be as a team, not how good you can be individually.”
Nowhere is that core value of the program more evident than in Parkview’s starting backfield, where multi-year senior starters quarterback Brennan Bozeman, fullback Conner Hodgeson and Randolph have all taken their turn in the spotlight during a regular season that was highlighted by an undefeated District 6-3A championship.
While some schools strive to meld talented personalities into the fabric of the team, the aforementioned trio embraces Parkview’s “team first” approach and looks to add the program’s fourth state championship when the No. 1 Eagles (8-0) open Class 3A state playoff action at home with No. 32 Erath (5-5) at 7 p.m. Friday.
“It’s a credit to those kids to accept our philosophy,” said Parkview offensive coordinator Scott Dieterich, who has spent 13 seasons with head coach Kenny Guillot. “It’s easier to impose our philosophy because they’ve seen teams before be successful, and they want to be successful.”
This has been one of Parkview’s more prolific offenses, averaging 45 points and nearly 400 yards of total offense, including just more than 300 on the ground.
The predicament most opposing defenses face, aside from Parkview’s traditional solid, physical play up front, is trying to find the football.
With Bozeman’s ball-handling wizardry the Eagles are adept at running between the tackles with Hodgeson — a sledgehammer of a back at 230 pounds — or bouncing outside with Bozeman either keeping or making a well-timed pitch to either Randolph or junior Erik Martinez, who both weigh 210 pounds.
“It’s hard to be the one back in our offense,” Hodgeson said. “That’s why it’s so easy for us three to work together and feed off each other. It’s more of a team thing for me than being an individual player.”
Randolph, a two-year starter, is the team’s leading rusher for the second consecutive season, closing in on 1,000 yards. A year after gaining 939 yards and scoring 10 TDs, Randolph has carried 99 times for 838 yards (8.5 yards per carry) with 14 TDs and has also caught eight passes for 236 yards and five scores.
“Our offense is built around the fullback,” Randolph said. “He’s the one that open things up for the wingbacks. I block for the fullback and then just pound it out.”
Hodgeson is the latest in a line of the program’s stellar fullbacks who actually took over a year earlier than expected in 2011, when fellow standout fullback Brandon Johnson suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Hodgeson moved from outside linebacker and proceeded to rush for 934 yards and 13 TDs. This season, he has 77 attempts for 480 yards (6.2 yards per carry) and five TDs.
“I try to get the offense moving anyway I can,” Hodgeson said. “I try to get 2 to 3 yards and get a first down every once in a while. I try to get the offense fired up.”
Since the fourth week of his sophomore season, Bozeman has been a constant behind center, a stretch that includes 32 consecutive starts. In his sophomore season, Parkview defeated Patterson 24-20 in the Class 3A state title game.
Bozeman, who will sign next week with LSU-Eunice in baseball, has accounted for more than 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Bozeman is the team’s third-leading rusher with 49 carries for 450 yards (9.2 yards per carry) and three TDs. He has completed 62 percent of his passes (42 of 68) for 718 yards and 13 TDs and no interceptions.
“After a game, based on the score, we all come out viewing it the same way, whether one of us got 100 yards and one got 10 yards,” Bozeman said. “We realize that any particular week it could be anyone of us, but none of us view it in a statistical way.”
Said Dieterich, “They all have roles, and they’ve all been important.”