Dream Team Offensive Player of the Year: LCC’s Parker a multi-threat athlete

LIMA — If there were more time and Lima Central Catholic quarterback Carson Parker, already a three-sport standout, could play a fourth sport, what would it be?

After considering it for a few seconds, he said, “Definitely golf. In the summer I go golfing as much as I can.”

But the fairways will have to wait. Parker’s plate is already full with football, basketball and baseball. Especially football.

Parker passed for 2,178 yards and 23 touchdowns with only five interceptions and rushed for 1,100 yards and 22 touchdowns this season. It was the second season in a row that he passed for more than 2,000 yards and the third consecutive season he ran for more than a thousand yards.

He did that while also playing linebacker on defense and punting for the Thunderbirds, who finished the season 8-4 with a team that had only two seniors in its starting lineup — wide receiver Billy Bourk and Parker.

All of those things and more made Parker the Offensive Player of the Year on The Lima News Dream Team for 2023.

“Along with his physical tools, he’s just a tremendous leader,” LCC coach Scott Palte said. “We went into this season with only two seniors who were going to play. He never wavered from his commitment. He never got frustrated when there were a lot of young guys out there making mistakes early. He was always there to lead them and guide them.”

Parker said the leadership role he and Bourk shared came partly through their own initiatives and partly from talks with Palte.

“It was a little of both,” he said. “Obviously, Coach Palte was like, ‘There are only two of you guys starting. You are going to have a lot of young guys. Just lead by example.’

“Billy and I also took it personally because it was our senior year, our last year. Let’s still make it the best it can be. And to make it the best we can, we have to take these young guys under our wing. Right when baseball season ended, we were getting them ready, getting them in the weight room.”

Parker also became a more efficient passer this season. He completed 62 percent of his passes after connecting on a career-low 49 percent as a junior.

“My completion percentage has gone way up from last year. It was getting back into the quarterback position and making the right reads, making the easy plays and not always forcing the deep ball. Throw the little check downs, get five yards and live for the next down,” he said.

See below the video for more of the story.

Parker got his first start at quarterback against Liberty-Benton as a freshman when COVID-19 kept several LCC starters at home. As a sophomore, he became the starting QB when Evan Unruh suffered a broken collarbone in the seventh game of the season and passed for 1,105 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushed for 1,017 yards and 16 touchdowns.

He passed for 2,156 yards and 13 touchdowns and ran for 1,865 yards and 33 touchdowns as a junior. In his career, Parker passed for 5,692 yards and 51 touchdowns and rushed for 4,004 yards and 71 touchdowns. LCC had a 37-14 record during his four seasons and was a state semifinalist in 2022 and 2020.

At 6-3 and 215 pounds, Parker is bigger than most Division VII high school quarterbacks and doesn’t hesitate to use his size.

“I like contact. It’s fun,” he said. “I played running back in midget football, and I’ve always played linebacker. At linebacker you have to like contact to play, and I think that just carries over to offense.”

Palte said, “He’s a big, strong kid who runs the ball well. He was not going to go out of bounds. A lot of times we would tell him he didn’t have to take every hit. You can go down earlier or duck out of bounds. But that’s just not in his DNA. He’s a physical runner who kind of likes the contact.”

Parker never missed an LCC game because of an injury and never missed a junior high or midget league game. He said he had some “little dings and stuff,” which would gradually go away. “And if they lasted a few weeks, tape them up and put a pad on them,” he said.

He called playing in the 2022 state semifinals with a group of seniors who were among his closest friends and his first career touchdown pass, a 50-yarder to Traves Hoyle against Liberty-Benton, as two of the most memorable moments of his career.

Even before that first touchdown pass, he knew football would be his No. 1 sport.

“Basketball had a little moment, and then baseball, and then football,” he said. “When I got to high school and Coach Palte really took me under his wing, that was when I was like, ‘I really love this game and want to play it at the next level,’” Parker said.

So far, he has offers from NCAA Division II schools Ohio Dominican and Wayne State.

“Tiffin has looked at me, Findlay has talked to me a little bit. Other than that, it’s been pretty slow. It’s starting to heat up a little bit more with Division III’s and Division II’s texting me here and there,” he said.


Read more about the 2023 Dream Team at LimaOhio.com/tag/dreamteam:

See the 2023 Lima News Dream Team, highlighting the best players from Allen County, northern Auglaize and southern Putnam County

Read about Carson Parker, the 2023 Dream Team Offensive Player of the Year

Read about Joey Truesdale, the 2023 Dream Team Defensive Player of the Year

Read about Bill Lawrence, the 2023 Dream Team Coach of the Year

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter @Lima_Naveau.