Quarterback leads Jesuit back to playoffs

Parker Towns is one of the most prolific passers in the area this season. (Photo: Rob Graham )

From the department of misleading statistics, Jesuit quarterback Parker Towns lost his first six starts as a varsity quarterback.

Never mind that four of those games came against perennial powers Plano East and Lake Travis. Another was against defending state champion DeSoto, and the other came versus undefeated Coppell.

Towns passed for almost 300 yards per game and 10 touchdowns in those six defeats. The Rangers scored at least 27 points in five of them and were competitive almost every time.

So it was probably a matter of unfortunate timing that required Towns to engineer a six-game winning streak — which gave Jesuit a runner-up finish in District 9-6A and the program’s eighth consecutive playoff appearance — in order to even up his career record as a starter.

Last year, Towns filled in for injured starter Jacob Palisch in the midst of Jesuit’s brutal nondistrict schedule. This season, he valiantly endured an 0-4 start against the same teams that forced the Rangers to overcome adversity to fulfill their postseason aspirations.

“We wanted those games to be excellent competition to prepare us for later in the season,” Towns said. “We knew we could play with the best of anybody. Offensively, we gained a lot of confidence.”

As for Towns, his strong arm, adept footwork, and smart instincts meant he had all the physical tools to take over as the starter in 2017. It took a little longer for the soft-spoken signal-caller to perfect some leadership intangibles.

“I’ve had to learn to be more vocal as a leader,” Towns said. “Stepping into the starting quarterback role, people were going to look to me. It was a little bit of a challenge at first, but I’m more comfortable now.”

He was one of the top quarterbacks in the Dallas area during the regular season, passing for almost 3,000 yards while accounting for almost 30 combined touchdowns running and throwing.

Towns transferred to Jesuit from Allen prior to his sophomore year. He spent one season learning the up-tempo offense at the junior varsity level before becoming Palisch’s backup a year ago. He’s also trained during the offseason with local quarterback guru Kevin Murray.

“Parker is a smart young man. He’s waited his turn and been patient,” said Jesuit head coach Brandon Hickman. “The transition was very smooth for him. He kept building and kept developing as the year progressed. I’m proud of the leadership he’s shown on and off the field.”

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