Melrose WR ties TD mark
Melrose's James Walker leaps over a teammate during a second-quarter run. CNJ photo by Eric Kluth.
MELROSE — On any other day, Harvey Parks would have had to share the spotlight.
But this wasn’t any other day as Parks caught three touchdown passes in Melrose’s 65-6 win over House in Saturday’s state six-man quarterfinal game, thereby tying the National High School Federation six-man record for most touchdown receptions in a season with 25.
The 5-foot-9 senior tied the record on a 45-yard pass from strong-armed sophomore quarterback Brock Graham three minutes into the second quarter, giving Melrose (7-2) a 42-0 lead.
“I told him we were going to try and get him the record if we could, but we just ran our offense,” Melrose coach Dickie Roybal said. “He understands. He’s a good kid.”
The game ended at halftime because of the state’s 45-point mercy rule.
Parks finished with four catches for 81 yards.
“It was pretty cool,” said Parks of his record-tying catch in which he beat a Cowboys defender on a fly pattern. “I would have liked to get the record this week because I think it was kind of a distraction.”
Parks had plenty of help in roughing up the Cowboys (3-4), who were making their first playoff appearance in the program’s six-year history.
# Sophomore running back Carlos Ruiz rushed for 144 yards and five touchdowns on 11 carries.
# The Buffaloes harassed the Cowboys into seven turnovers.
# Brock Graham returned one of his three interceptions 72 yards for Melrose’s final score and threw for two touchdowns.
Roybal said the defense set the tone of the game.
“Our defense did a great job today and they’ve been doing a great job in practice,” Roybal said.
Melrose erased any doubt about the outcome by exploding for 38 points during a four-minute stretch that spanned the first and second quarters.
Included in the onslaught were a safety and a 13-yard interception return for a TD by sophomore lineman Caleb Dodd.
“I was just in the right place at the right time,” said Dodd, who was also credited with a fumble recovery after actually stealing a handoff from House quarterback Jordan Jennings on an inside trap play.
“I was just try to get upfield and I took the handoff.”
The turnover and subsequent personal foul penalty set up Ruiz’ 3-yard run that put Melrose up 22-0 late in the first quarter.
House (3-5) scored on a 29-yard pass from Seth Webb to Jordan Jennings.
‘We just didn’t come ready to play and they did,” House coach Justin Foust said. “But nobody expected us to be here. We battled some adversity and only had eight players the whole year.
“Overall, the year was a success. It just didn’t end way we wanted.”