Austin Crowe, Marcus Harris and a stellar defensive effort proved too much for Addison as the Tornadoes picked up a 25-15 quarterfinal victory at Harland-Nelson Stadium.
It was Parrish football at its best Friday night.
Running back Crowe lit up the Addison defense for more than 200 yards, Harris had two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions and the Tornadoes forced six turnovers as they ousted the Bulldogs and earned a spot in the state semifinals.
Next up is meeting against R.A. Hubbard next week at Parrish. The winner of that game will advance to Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium for the state Super Six.
The Tornadoes are in the semifinals for the first time since the 2003 team won the 1A championship.
“We’ve never come this far since I’ve been here,” Parrish lineman Danny Short said. “I had never won a playoff game before this year. This feels great. This is big for the whole community. This is big for Walker County. We’ve got two steps left. After next week, all roads lead to Auburn.”
Following the win, Parrish head coach Andy Keith noted the Tornadoes’ rise from the depths of a winless season just a few years ago.
“For us to beat a team of this caliber and with this much tradition is huge. It’s been a big climb for our kids. We were 0-10 that first year and last year we chipped away and went 7-4 and now we are going to the semifinals. I’m emotional. I’m ecstatic. It’s great and it couldn’t happen to a better group of guys,” Keith said.
The Tornadoes were never challenged by a playoff-savvy Addison team Friday night.
Parrish (10-3) put the game away with a pair of second-quarter touchdowns and sealed the victory with Harris’ 80-yard kickoff return in the third quarter.
Parrish opened the scoring late in the first quarter when Wesley Smith booted a 22-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
Tenth-ranked Addison (10-3) outgained the Tornadoes in the quarter, but was done in by three turnovers. Harris ended Addison’s second possession with a diving interception.
Parrish’s Gary Woods recovered a fumble on the Bulldogs’ next possession and Broderick Sanders fell on yet another Addison fumble late in the quarter.
The second quarter belonged to Parrish.
On the Tornadoes’ first possession, Crowe had runs of 30, 38 and 10 yards on consecutive plays to put Parrish in business at the Addison 13-yard line.
Three plays later, quarterback Jeremy Piper hit Harris for an 8-yard touchdown. Woods added the 2-point conversion for an 11-0 lead with 6:46 left in the half.
After an Addison punt, Parrish’s needed just two plays to get into the end zone again.
Piper hit Wesley Smith with a 46-yard strike to the 1-yard line and Piper finished off the drive with a sneak for a score and a 17-0 lead.
Addison seemed to pick up momentum early in the third quarter when Corey Robinson blocked a punt deep inside Parrish territory. On the ensuing play, Alexander Robinson went in for a 10-yard score to cut the lead to 17-7 with 9:28 remaining.
The Bulldogs’ momentum lasted 16 seconds.
That’s how long it took Harris to run back the Addison kickoff.
Harris bolted down the sideline for an 80-yard score to deflate the Bulldogs. Crowe added the 2-point conversion for a 25-7 lead.
Harris struck again later in the quarter, making a leaping interception to thwart an Addison drive inside Parrish territory.
Addison’s final score came on a Jed Cross 21-yard pass to Jesse Seals with five minutes left in the game. Trent Godbee ran in the 2-point conversion to cut the gap to 25-15.
Parrish’s Spencer Piper ended Addison’s hopes with an interception late in the closing minutes.
For the Tornadoes, who have won eight straight games after a 2-3 start, Crowe finished with 210 rushing yards on 24 carries. He now has 675 rushings yards in the playoffs to go with seven touchdowns. Jeremy Piper completed 4-of-8 passes for 60 yards and a score and Harris finished with a touchdown reception and a kickoff return for a score to go with two interceptions.
“We started out a little shaky,” Parrish lineman Luke Barnes said. “We worried about their size. We came out and hit them in the mouth. Crowe ran harder than he ever has and I can’t say enough about Marcus. He’s amazing. We’ve got one more to go to get to the championship.”
“This means the world to me and I’m sure it does to everybody on the team,” Crowe added. “If we go in there and prepare like we should, practice like we should and do what needs to be done, I think we’ve got a great shot to get (to Auburn).”
Friday's game was the first meeting between Parrish and Addison since 2003. In that game, the Tornadoes battled back from a 23-14 halftime deficit for a 36-30 win behind running backs Cole Mason and Tony Dixon. Parrish went on to win the 2003 title two weeks later.
Next week’s game will mark the 10th playoff meeting between Parrish and R.A. Hubbard — formerly Courtland.
The Tornadoes have won five of the nine meetings, but have lost three in a row to the Raging Chiefs, which defeated Lynn 34-30 on the road Friday.