Player Profile: Parker Boyd’s versatility helps Panthers to first win in a month

Published 1:52 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2017

PINETOWN — Northside football fans knew that senior Parker Boyd would be an important component of the Panthers’ defense. Of all returning players, only Cameron Cahoon had more tackles in 2016.

But Boyd has evolved into more than just a talented linebacker for the Panthers. He’s making plays in all phases of the game. Defensively, Boyd came into the year with one career interception. He had a pick in each of Northside’s first two games this season.

“He’s gotten bigger and stronger. It doesn’t hurt that he’s been a three-year starter,” coach Keith Boyd said. “We felt like he, along with Cam in there together, they were centerpieces for our defense. He’s made some plays for us.”

Making those kind of game-shifting plays may have been the one wrinkle missing from Parker Boyd’s defensive play. He’s consistently one of the team’s best tacklers, and he’s been a leader when it comes to calling the shots on the field.

His leadership has been important to a defensive front that has featured many inexperienced players along the line. He and Cahoon excelled in bringing pressure and stopping South Creek’s athletes before they could get going. The defense will only continue to get better as that unit continues to gel and grow in its understanding of the system.

The senior has also lent a helping hand to the offense by lining up at tight end and providing extra blocking. He also has one of the run-heavy team’s three catches this season.

“He’s kind of like another offensive lineman at 6-foot-3, 6-4, 215 (pounds),” his father and coach explained. “We run well behind him as well as a few of the other offensive linemen. … We lean on him a lot. He’s big for us on both sides of the football, as well as some others are.”

And that’s not all for Boyd’s contributions to the team. He has stepped into the punting role since the graduation of superstar James Barrow. Boyd’s special-teams offerings paid off in spades. It helped the Panthers win a close game, 14-8, against South Creek after a string of one-possession losses.

“We knew we would need someone to step up,” Keith Boyd said. “He’s gradually getting better and better at it. He was pretty big for us Friday night with some of his punts keeping (South Creek) back. It seems like a role he enjoys. He gets out early every day in practice.”

That’s what it boils down to. Parker Boyd’s passion for the game and love for his team makes it easy for him to take on the increased workload he has this year.

It’s paying off well for him, too. The win on Friday was Northside’s first homecoming victory in 12 years. Boyd and his fellow seniors have put in immeasurable hours practicing for a moment like that. They were rewarded with a win they’ll not soon forget.

“It’s great to be able to walk out of the school knowing that our group, as a class, did something that 12 or so couldn’t do before us,” he said. “It means a lot that I was able to do it with these guys. These guys are amazing.”

Boyd and the Panthers face their toughest challenge of the season at home against Tarboro on Friday.