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Parnell leads Panthers’ all-state honors

Although there isn’t an overall award for high school football player of the year, Jaylin Parnell would have a strong case if there was.

The South Medford senior was the only player named to both the Class 6A all-state offense and defense first teams, getting the call at both running back and linebacker, after leading the Panthers to by far their most successful season in program history, an appearance in the championship game.

Parnell (6-foot, 200 pounds) pulled off a rare repeat this year as Southwestern Conference player of the year on offense and defense, and his name is all over the school record books.

With 1,442 rushing yards this year and 24 rushing TDs, Parnell topped the previous single-season records owned by Matt Cromwell, who had 1,422 yards and 21 rushing TDs in 1992. (It should be noted there are some statistical gaps in the South program from 1993-2001.)

Parnell’s 32 carries against Sheldon tied the single-game record set by Andres Reed in 2001 against Grants Pass, and his four rushing TDs against GP this year tied Derrick Vaughn’s total against Mazama in 1994. Parnell’s five combined scores against the Cavemen this year were a school record.

For his career, Parnell boasts 2,974 yards rushing and 37 TDs on 413 carries to go with 985 yards and 13 scores on 82 receptions. All that done while also finishing as one of South Medford’s leading tacklers in each of the past two seasons and rarely coming off the field.

Several other Panthers players received all-state honors, as well.

Joining Parnell on the first team offense were two of the lineman who helped clear the way for him, senior center Daniel Shenk and senior guard Brandon Ditty.

Joining Parnell on the first team defense was cornerback Josiah Johnson, who had a team-best six interceptions and tied a school record with three interceptions against West Salem.

All-state second team offense selections included quarterback Robbie Patterson, wide receivers Chase Cota and Jaalen Owens and lineman Michael Cormier. Owens was also a second team defense selection at cornerback, as was defensive lineman Ditty.

Other notable all-state selections included:

6A HONORABLE MENTION OFFENSE: WR Tayler Phillips, Grants Pass, senior; K Daniel Cronin, Grants Pass, senior.

6A HONORABLE MENTION DEFENSE: P Daniel Cronin, Grants Pass, senior.

5A HONORABLE MENTION OFFENSE: RB Cade Weaver, Crater, senior; OL Drake Morey, Ashland, senior.

5A HONORABLE MENTION DEFENSE: DL Drake Morey, Ashland, senior; LB Tony Flores, Crater, junior; DB Cade Weaver, Crater, senior.

4A HONORABLE MENTION OFFENSE: WR Chase Courtney, Phoenix, senior; TE Jonathan Halligan, Phoenix, senior.

4A HONORABLE MENTION DEFENSE: DL Ismael De La Torre, Phoenix, senior; DB Chase Courtney, Phoenix, senior.

South Medford senior Jaylin Parnell (24) earns all-state honors on both sides of the ball, as a running back and a linebacker. [ANDY ATKINSON/MAIL TRIBUNE]