Parker shines on both sides of ball

Maroon Senior Marquise Parker fights for extra yards with two Caldwell County defenders on him during Friday's scrimmage.

(Jose Juan Ruiz/ The Messenger)

With one football scrimmage in the books, an already-confident Maroons' football team may be even better than advertised.

Under the lights and at home, Madisonville North put on their uniforms for the first time last Friday night, handling Caldwell County by four scores in a tune-up match for the regular season set to kickoff Friday, Aug. 23.

"It feels great to put on the uniform again; we've been waiting for a long time," said Maroons senior Marquise Parker.

The excitement was in full display as North cruised to victory, which had the fans cheering, but the victory ultimately didn't mean much.

"The score doesn't matter tonight," said North head coach Jay Burgett after the game.

While the score was being kept, the focus for the Maroons was internal and not on the scoreboard.

"You want successes and failures out of scrimmages," said Burgett. "You want to see some things go well, but you also got to have things to work on because if you are doing everything perfect right now, in my opinion, you won't be a good team come the season."

On Friday, North had a lot of successes on both sides of the ball, but some kinks were still left to be worked out.

"What I saw tonight was an offense that did a good job moving the football, but we are still hurting ourselves with

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penalties. We have to fix that," said Burgett. "We are just driving, driving, driving with momentum, and then we get a penalty and it kind of stops us."

The defense had a similar outing, providing big moments with two interceptions but also allowed too many big plays, said Burgett.

"Defensively, we are going for big play sometimes, and by trying to make a big play, we let a big play happen. We have to learn to pick our spots," he said. "We are an aggressive defense. It can get us sometimes, but if you don't take risk you can't get the reward. We just have to find the balance."

One name that stood out on Friday was Parker, a two-way player for the Maroons. The starting defensive back also made his presence felt on offense -- catching two touchdowns with acrobatic moves and providing a 22-yard run that sent two defenders to the ground.

"(Parker) made some great plays in the end zon; he made some key blocks. We are very happy with him on both sides of the football," said Burgett.

Parker is heading into his senior season and wanted to set an example for the young guys on the squad.

"As a senior, I know I have to set the tone for the other guys," he said. "I'm out here making plays anytime I can to help my team win."

Parker hopes his play at receiver will give the Maroons another weapon on offense.

"I felt I've made a big leap at receiver. I just want to take pressure off Jeriah (Hightower)," said Parker. "Everyone in the district knows he is the main weapon, but I'm trying to be another option out there. Take the pressure off everybody."

Another benefit North gained from the scrimmage was providing game time to players that may not normally work with the first team. North wants to build depth on its team and see this as the best way to gain experience.

"We've got a lot of depth. We have multiple players for each position, and if we can stay that way it's going to make us better," said Burgett. "It's a long season, you don't know who going to be healthy. So giving all the guys time will really help. The more we can add to the depth, the better."

Next up for the Maroons is a quad-team scrimmage at 7 p.m. Friday, which will serve as the team's final preparation before the regular season. North will host Graves County, Owensboro Catholic and Henderson County -- with all playing each at least a quarter.

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