New Columbus coach breaks down some of his high-profile recruits
Henry Parrish Jr. certainly knows how to make an entrance.
Parrish took his first touch — a handoff on the game’s first play from scrimmage — 80 yards for a touchdown.
And, like a modern-day Forrest Gump, Parrish just kept running all night, finishing with 324 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries as his Columbus Explorers defeated the Belen Jesuit Wolverines 41-7 on Wednesday night at Tropical Park.
Parrish, a Pitt recruit, overshadowed Belen star running back Donald Chaney Jr., who was held to 61 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries.
Chaney, a Miami recruit, left the game with 6:15 left in the third quarter after he suffered cramps in his right leg. He did not return.
It was the 15th consecutive year that Columbus has defeated Belen in this “rivalry” game between two all-boys’ schools in West Dade.
“It’s not a real rivalry until we beat them,” Belen coach Eddie Delgado said prior to the game.
In fact, Belen has never beaten Columbus, and this had seemed to be one of the Wolverines’ best chances as this is the senior year of Chaney, who is ranked the No. 1 running back in South Florida and the No. 40 overall recruit in the nation.
But the Explorers — who have superior overall athletes and depth — swarmed Chaney on every touch.
Parrish, a three-star recruit not rated among ESPN’s top-300 recruits, was sensational. On his first touchdown, he originally headed to his left but made a cut toward the middle and eventually ran past every Belen defender down the right sideline.
His second touchdown was another work of art for Columbus — a 76-yarder. His third score was his shortest — 27 yards — but it was his best in terms of the number of tackles he broke, which had to be at least seven.
Chaney’s one score came with 54 seconds left in the first half. On third-and-goal from the 7, Chaney used his excellent speed to outrace several Columbus defenders to the left pylon.
Earlier in the half, Chaney reached the end zone on a 58-yard run up the middle that would’ve been glorious for underdog Belen. But the play was nullified by a holding penalty.
Another stellar athlete in this game — Columbus wide receiver Xzavier Henderson — had a 42-yard touchdown punt return wiped out by a block-in-the-back penalty.
Henderson, who has yet to declare his college of choice but is ranked the No. 73 prospect in the nation by ESPN, finished the night with four receptions for 21 yards.
Parrish also contributed to the passing game, catching three passes for 17 yards.
While the first-teamers were still in the game, Columbus also got touchdowns from Keenan Toomer (1-yard fumble recovery after a high snap on a punt) and Christopher Gilbert (19-yard reception from Brandon McDuffey).