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Palmdale’s Victory Over Hart Spiced by Dashes of Parker

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

LaShante Parker could have danced all night. In fact, he did.

Parker, Palmdale High’s junior tailback, danced through the Hart defense, rushing for 172 yards and 2 touchdowns in 14 carries. He also added a nifty 92-yard kickoff return for another score as Palmdale waltzed past Hart, 40-21, Thursday night at College of the Canyons.

The Falcons (2-1) rolled up 340 yards total offense to Hart’s 234. And that doesn’t include Parker’s kickoff return and interceptions returned for touchdowns by Travis Collier (39 yards) and Trent Young (42 yards).

Hart gained only 3 yards rushing, and quarterback Rob Westervelt, despite completing 18 of 27 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown, was under heavy pressure from blitzing linebackers throughout.

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“Their outside corner kept blitzing,” Westervelt said. “Those interceptions, I don’t usually throw to the weak side. The guy was open, but they have the quickness to come in there.”

Hart tight end Brian Allen caught 4 passes for 96 yards, including a 54-yarder for a touchdown to pull Hart to within 27-21 with 2:27 remaining. But Allen, for the most part, was bottled up with double coverage.

Hart gambled with an onside kick after Allen’s touchdown, but Palmdale recovered. Parker then bolted 58 yards for a touchdown on the Falcons’ first play.

“I just read the cuts,” Parker said.

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With less than a minute left, Young intercepted a Westervelt pass for Palmdale’s final score. Collier’s interception with 4:41 to play gave the Falcons a 27-14 lead.

“I think the kids felt that last week they didn’t show what they were,” said Palmdale Coach John Lowry, whose team was trounced by Crespi, 33-13. “And I think they did (this week).”

Palmdale marched 78 yards in 12 plays on its second possession of the second quarter to take a 6-0 lead on a 1-yard hurdle by Parker.

Westervelt brought Hart (1-2) back, completing four consecutive passes as the Indians marched from their 32 to Palmdale’s 13. But after two incompletions, Hart settled for a 30-yard field goal by Scott Etheridge.

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Hart linebacker Scott Renfro gave the Indians the ball on Palmdale’s 32-yard line when he intercepted quarterback Cole Speer’s pass over the middle. Five plays later, Etheridge booted a 36-yard field goal with 2:22 remaining in the half to tie the score, 6-6.

But on the ensuing kickoff, Parker criss-crossed the field, racing 92 yards virtually untouched for the score.

Hart failed to capitalize on an earlier Palmdale error when Speer fumbled a first-down snap at the Falcons’ 37 and Brian LaMarre recovered for Hart. Westervelt, however, was sacked for a 12-yard loss on first down and the Indians were forced to punt.

Speer hit Shannon Culver, who caught 5 passes for 103 yards, with a 15-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter.

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Hart answered with a 1-yard touchdown run by Elliot Graeber.


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