Park Center Football Coach Paul Strong may not remember our exchange at a basketball game at the school last winter, but the former University of Minnesota player, who took over when former Gopher standout Ricky Foggie left to coach at Red Wing last year, invited me to attend a Pirates game this season. In fact, he insisted on it.
“Make sure you come check us out next year,” he said. “Make sure you come.”
Last Friday afternoon, I showed up and was far from disappointed.
Quarterback Amani Hooker, considered by many to be one of the state’s top football prospects, passed for four touchdowns, ran for another, and played well from his defensive back position, leading Park Center to a 41-0 Suburban Red District victory over Benilde St. Margaret’s before a capacity crowd celebrating the Pirate’s homecoming.
Ty’shonan Brooks caught three of Hooker’s touchdown passes, and running back Malcolm Richards caught the other one and ran for another score as Park Center dominated from start to finish.
Richards got the Pirates off to a fast start dashing 44 yards for a touchdown, and Hooker connected with Brooks from six yards out to make it a 13-0 ballgame after the first quarter.
Hooker connected with Brooks again for a 16-yard score and added a 30-yard touchdown of his own to give the Pirates a 28-0 halftime advantage.
The Hooker-Brooks combo accounted for a 17-yard score, and Richards caught a pass and raced 90 yards as Park Center’s point total grew to round the scoring for the game.
A dominating performance by a pretty good football team.
Mitchell Palmer McDonald welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.