December 4, 2007

2009 corner gearing up for the Dome

It has been years since Destrehan High School has been in the Louisiana state championship game and it has been decades since it has won it. 2009 cornerback Antonio Parker is excited about the opportunity to end both of those streaks this weekend when the undefeated Destrehan Wildcats take on Acadiana in the Louisiana Superdome.

In 1993, Ed Reed led Destrehan into the state championship game before losing 28-21 to West Monroe high school. 20 years earlier, Destrehan won the state championship, ending a dominating run that dates all the way back to 1943. This is all part of the history lesson Parker imparts before stating a case for Destrehan's return to dominance.

"We're gonna take it back this year," Parker said. "Even after the season last year when Carencro beat us, we knew it was going to be a whole new ball game this year. We had a lot of selfish teammates last year and that's why we didn't win against Carencro and we came up short. A lot of guys were playing for themselves."

In the semifinal round of the playoffs, Destrehan rolled to a resounding 59-7 win over Westgate high school. Despite the final score, Parker wasn't always sure it would be so easy.

"I'm not gonna lie, when I first came out there and saw them boys I was like, 'it's about to be a game'," he said. "Their O-line was all six foot. The receiver I was sticking was six foot. They had athletes. I guess they didn't have discipline."

Parker is a lock-down corner who takes pride in shutting down his receivers. While a state championship is the primary goal for his season, he also has a personal achievement he is after, and he isn't looking to settle for any less.

In the week leading up to the Westgate game, Parker knew that he needed three interceptions to break the school record of 10. He made no secret of the fact that he planned on breaking, not tying the record and the magic number dropped from three to two on Friday night.

"They only threw it a couple times," he said. "Instead of throwing it deep they were throwing bubble screens. The first time he threw it at me I had him covered. The second time they threw the ball at me it was one on one coverage so I was smothering him and he couldn't get the ball."

Finally, Parker got his chance at the pick but found credit to dish out to his teammate for the assist.

"We were in cover three," he said. "He threw it up and I went and got it. The strong safety went out into the flat and that's what allowed me to get the pick. If he hadn't played the flat I probably wouldn't have been able to get it."

Though he plays another run heavy team in the state finals, Parker is ready to pounce on his opportunities.

"They're an option team and they don't throw the ball much," he said. "But when they do throw the ball, I'll make them pay."

Parker is in the process of sending out his highlight tapes to schools but lists a diverse group of favorites including LSU, Ohio State, Hawaii, Florida and Miami (Fla.).

He hopes to jump into the camp circuit this spring with a state championship and 11 interceptions in his back pocket.


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