SHREVEPORT, LA -- Pearl (MS) jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, cruising to a 50-27 victory over Bossier City (LA) Parkway on Friday -- but the outcome of the game was only part of the story, as Terrace Marshall, the nation's top-ranked wide receiver, was lost to what appeared to be a serious lower leg injury during a collision with Pirates defensive back Demario Nichols.
Both players were carted off and taken to the hospital by ambulance -- Nichols with an apparent head injury.
Pearl (4-0) took control later in the first quarter on a pair of touchdown passes from Jake Smithhart -- to Dylan Kelly and Tylan Knight, respectively -- to cap five play drives and give the Pirates a 14-0 lead.
Parkway answered by bookending a Johnny Winston score with a pair of Eric Williams touchdown runs to pull within 20-14 with 7:10 to play in the first half.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, the good news pretty much ended there.
Steve Alexander raced 22 yards on the second play of the ensuing drive to push the lead back to 27-14 -- but that would be far from the worst thing to happen.
With 27 seconds to play in the half, Marshall and Nichols collided -- Marshall landing awkwardly on his left leg and Nichols down with, by all accounts, a head injury.
The injury delay was a lengthy, emotional one that sucked the energy out of a previously lively stadium.
Parkway, to its credit, struck first out of the break on a long touchdown run by Williams but awarded Pearl with a short field following a failed onside kick. The Pirates took advantage, as Smithhart found Kelly wide open down the sideline to erase Parkway's progress.
On the ensuing kickoff, Pearl executed its own onside kick, and, one play later, Jaylon Stovall took a reverse 46 yards to the house, pushing the Pirates lead to 43-20 and effectively putting the game on ice with 2:19 to play in the third quarter.
Winston rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown -- including 117 yards in the first half. Smithhart add 30 on the ground and another 186 and four touchdowns through the air. Pearl totaled 513 yards of total offense.
Williams led the way for Parkway with 180 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries.
Friday & Saturday, September 8-9 | 6 PM (CDT)Shreveport Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA
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