Prep football: West's Parks, Smith selected for Shrine Bowl
By Bret Strelow
With an open date on West Rowan’s schedule, seniors K.P. Parks and Chris Smith can get a head start on weekend trips to their college destinations.
Parks will travel to Virginia for the Cavaliers’ home game against Duke, and Smith will take his official visit to Arkansas for the Razorbacks’ homecoming contest with Eastern Michigan.
Now they know not to make any plans for the third Saturday in December.
Parks, a running back, and Smith, a defensive end, have been selected to represent North Carolina in the Shrine Bowl. West coach Scott Young is an assistant for the N.C. team, which will face South Carolina on Dec. 19 at Wofford’s Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg, S.C.”Being selected to coach in the Shrine Bowl, it’s special in itself, but once I found out I was going to get to enjoy that week with two of our players, to me that makes it even more special,” Young said.
Charlotte Catholic’s Jim Oddo is North Carolina’s head coach, and Young will work primarily with the offensive linemen.
Young also had two players picked in 2006, when linebacker Tristan Dorty and offensive lineman David Melton suited up for the N.C. team in a 23-16 victory.
“Before I started playing football at West Rowan, Tristan Dorty was the one person I looked up to when he was in the Shrine Bowl,” said Smith, who didn’t go out for football as a freshman. “When I went to the combines, I really wanted to work hard to get that accomplishment. Having great coaches and great teammates like K.P., our front four, everybody at West Rowan, it’s a great honor.”
The Falcons won a state title last year, when Smith had 26 sacks, and they’re the top-ranked 3A team this season. Parks has rushed for 2,428 yards and 35 touchdowns in 10 games, bringing his career numbers to 9,529 yards on the ground and 134 total TDs.
Parks said he’s looking forward to a week that includes visiting the Shriners Hospital for Children in Greenville, S.C.
“Getting to walk through the hospital and see them and it brightens up their day, it’ll be a very big honor to me just going to see the kids,” Parks said.
Parks, Fayetteville Smith’s Damario Eastmon, Fayetteville Britt’s Eric Johnson, Smithfield-Selma’s Joshua Snead and Jacksonville White Oak’s Tamari White are the running backs on North Carolina’s roster. Independence’s Anthony Carrothers and Tuscola’s Tyler Brosius are the quarterbacks.
Oddo plans to use the Wing-T offense that’s helped him be highly successful at Charlotte Catholic. The run-oriented attack, which relies on misdirection, features two backs who line up close to the offensive tackles and another back who sets up directly behind the QB.
“There are some things that may be more suited to (Parks) in this offense,” Young said. “His depth from the line of scrimmage won’t be 7 yards; he’ll be closer to the line of scrimmage. A lot of these plays are quick hitters, and K.P. does real well on a quick-hitting thing like that.”
Parks expressed no concerns about adjusting to an unfamiliar scheme.
“We’re running the ball, so it has to be pretty good.” he said with a laugh. “Once we get there we’ll have to work to improve on it, but I think it’ll be a pretty good offense.”
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