ROTTERDAM — Schalmont senior Rodney Parker did his homework and is ready for the test.
The 6-foot-1 running back has digested hours of film sent to him from Joe Whipple, Parker’s new head coach, and he will get his first carries as a Sabre on the road against Hudson in Schalmont’s season-opener Friday night.
“Last year, just watching him [at Holy Trinity], we knew that if we had to defend him, it would be a long night,” Whipple said.
Parker fractured the growth plate in his left ankle before Holy Trinity — a team made up of athletes from Bishop Maginn, Catholic Central and Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons — faced Schalmont in the regular-season finale, a 35-22 win for the Sabres, as both teams earned a share of the Class B Reinfurt Division Title.
Parker — along with his brother, Tyree, a junior — transferred from Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons to Schalmont for this school year. That shift sends Parker, who helped lead Holy Trinity to an appearance in last year’s Section II Class B championship game, into the backfield of the Sabres.
Whipple was thrilled with the news of the Parker family’s decision.
“We were very lucky to have another great family to go along with our football team,” Whipple said. “We just got lucky.”
Once registered within the Schalmont Central School District, Parker started receiving clips to watch from Whipple designed to help the senior improve his rushing.
“He sends me a lot of film from Baylor,” Parker said. “Being able to see it on the screen has been very helpful.”
He has worked on putting the videos into practice this season.
“A lot of going up the middle, making one cut and then going outside,” Parker said. “They do that a lot — one move and go.”
Also a basketball star who scored his high school career’s 1,000th point this season, Parker played just one year of Pop Warner football and joined Holy Trinity last year as a junior. Fully healed from his late-season football injury, Parker said he looked forward to last week’s full-contact scrimmage against Glens Falls.
“It felt amazing, I’m not going to lie,” said Parker, who rushed for 84 yards and produced a game-ending sack in Holy Trinity’s memorable 37-35 win against Glens Falls in the Section II Class B semifinals. “It was nice to finally be on the field. That first contact kind of woke me up.”
The delayed start to the football season due to pandemic-related restrictions gave Parker more time to view the best practices by backs at the college level. Whipple said his new running back took advantage of that time.
“I think he worked really hard, just gaining that football IQ and understanding defenses, what they do and why, understanding offenses and why,” Whipple said. “Rodney has really bought into that.
“With his size, his speed and athletic ability you kid of create Rodney in a video game, he brings that much to the table.”