A slow start for the Parkland football team ended in triumph.
Mustang quarterback Camian Shell, a junior, passed for just over 200 yards and two touchdowns as the Mustangs defeated North Davidson 24-17, taking the team’s nonconference home opener at Deaton-Thompson Stadium on a cool Saturday night.
It was the first time the teams had met in the regular season since their days as conference opponents in the Central Piedmont 4-A. That last matchup occurred in 2016, a 56-28 victory for North Davidson.
Landon Moore, beginning his senior season at quarterback for the Black Knights (0-1), finished the night with 170 yards passing and a touchdown and was sacked three times. He was intercepted twice, both times by the Mustangs senior defensive back Denoris Wardlow — the last coming on team’s final drive of the night with 24 seconds remaining.
North Davidson scored on its first drive of the night. After Colton Horvath received the opening kickoff, the teams’ offense charged 69 yards and burned off just over five minutes on the clock before taking a lead.
On first down from the Parkland 18, Moore connected with Jamarian Dalton in the end zone for a touchdown. It was the 40th of Moore’s career, and North Davidson led 7-0.
The Black Knights widened their lead two minutes into the second quarter. On second and goal from the 1, Moore ran a quarterback keeper up the middle with 9:54 remaining in the half.
Then Parkland got rolling. The Mustangs (1-0) went on to score 24 unanswered points, before the Black Knights could respond again.
Parkland’s first touch town happened on the most unlikeliest of plays. On third-and-13 from the North Davidson 28, Shell got a bad snap — the Mustangs’ third of the game — which Parkland recovered 16 yards in the backfield.
On fourth down with 3:10 remaining in the second quarter, Shell dropped back and heaved the ball 44 yards. The pass made its way to the end zone and was tipped by Jaylen Elliott, the Mustangs’ junior wide receiver, then fell into teammate Chase Rorie’s arms.
A successful conversion off another pass from Shell, who connected with Scott Walker, and Parkland trailed just 14-8.
Parkland scored again before halftime to take the lead.
Parkland got possession with 3:07 left as the Mustangs recovered the ball at the North Davidson 37.
That drive, the teams’ fifth and last of the half, ended with Walker running in a 2-yard keeper. With just over a minute and a half remaining, Shell connected with Kam May and the Mustangs managed a second conversion to lead 16-7.
And it continued going into the second half.
A kickoff returned by Elliott to the teams’ own 39-yard line. And then, just a play later, Shell had another touchdown pass just 19 seconds into the third quarter.
This time, however, it was to Jaquan Kelly. Shell connected with the junior, who ran down the Mustangs’ sideline on what was a 61-yard pass to score.
North Davidson responded with 7:22 left on a 45-yard field goal booted by Jake Marion to trail 24-17. It hit the crossbar, bouncing once through the uprights.
Marion had another field-goal attempt, from 48 yards out, which went wide left with 53 seconds remaining in the third.
Parkland 24 North Davidson 17
North Davidson 7 7 3 0 — 17
Parkland 0 16 8 0 — 24
ND — Landon Moore 18 pass to Jamarien Dalton (Jake Marion kick)
ND — Moore 1 quarterback keeper (Marion kick)
PHS — Camian Shell 44 pass to Chase Rorie (Conversion good)
PHS — Scott Walker 2 quarterback keeper (Conversion good)
PHS — Shell 61 pass to Jaquan Kelly (Conversion good)
ND — Marion 45 field goal
ND — Field goal failed