HOT SPRINGS -- Little Rock Parkview may have come out a bit flat to start, but the Patriots were able to come out with a 33-21 win over Hot Springs on Thursday night.
Coach Brad Bolding said the Trojans (2-2, 0-1 5A-South) were a much better team than his Patriots (2-2, 1-0) expected.
"I give a lot of credit to Hot Springs," he said. "Those guys came out ready to play. Their kids were firing on all cylinders the first half, and we just kind of came out here and just thought the game was just going to happen and we were going to walk out here with a victory.
"This is a good football team we played."
After a misstep on their first play from scrimmage, Trojans quarterback Matt Contreras -- whose eight touchdown passes last week against Little Rock Southwest landed him in a tie for fourth in the state record book -- connected with Octavious Rhodes for a 69-yard touchdown pass on the second play. Juan Martinez' kick made it 7-0 with just 29 seconds off the clock.
Both teams scored before halftime. Parkview's Cameron Settles broke free on a 27-yard run to tie the game after Willie Eackles' kick with 10:54 left in the half. Then Contreras found Derrick Hicks on an 11-yard pass with 34 seconds left to give the Trojans a 14-7 lead going into the break.
"We made some adjustments I thought at half, some adjustments that really helped us the second half," Bolding said. "I'm really proud of the kids. The kids, they came out. They realized, 'Man, we can't come out against good football teams and not play four quarters.' So that's a good valuable lesson learned from it."
The Patriots went on a 20-point scoring spree to start the second half to take a 27-14 lead with 11:56 left in the game. Contreras connected with Hicks again with six minutes left to cut the spread to a one-touchdown game.
But Parkview quarterback Eric McGehee hit Monterrio Elston on a 28-yard touchdown pass to cap a nine-play, 65-yard drive that burned 4:14 off the clock to put the game out of reach with 1:46 left.
"They played some tight coverage," Hot Springs Coach Darrell Burnett said. "They're good. They're real good. We played a good team, man. A good strong team that was able to run the ball and kill some clock. You live, you learn."
The coverage kept Rhodes, the Trojans' top receiver who tied the state record in touchdown receptions last week, from making some key catches, including three deep bombs that would have likely resulted in touchdowns, two in the second quarter.
"That's probably the first couple drops I've ever seen him make. So, you know, I'm not going to panic about it," Burnett said. "He catches everything in practice. He catches everything all summer."
Contreras went 19-for-42 passing for 206 yards with 2 interceptions and 3 touchdowns. Rhodes had four catches for 81 yards and a score, TJ Brogdon had nine catches for 54 yards, and Hicks had 4 receptions for 43 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Perry Jones led the Trojans on the ground with 13 carries for 63 yards, and Zamarion Wilson had six rushes for 49 yards.
McGehee was 14-for-20 passing for 215 yards and t2wo scores. Elston had 176 yards receiving with two scores, including a 77-yard reception to give the Patriots their first lead. Settles had 86 yards rushing on 19 carries with 1 score, and Darien Bennett had 21 rushes for 61 yards and a touchdown.