Richardson, Parlier wrapping  up productive Unaka careers

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR STAFF
mbirchfield@starhq.com

   After the 2003 season, Unaka will be lose two important parts of the offensive scheme, along with a solid efforts on the defensive side of the ball.
   Both Andrew Richardson and Joey Parlier graduate at the school year's end, and these two key players have provided a lot of stability throughout their careers.
   Parlier had a dream season last year by rushing for 1,100 yards, while Richardson has stepped up in his senior season, given the duty of being the feature fullback.
   After playing through injuries last season, Richardson has come on this year to ground out the tough yards, even when he's not 100 percent.
   "Injuries have slowed me down and I broke my hand in my junior year, but I've struggled through it all and helped my team at whatever just being a team player," said Richardson.
   Not only does Andrew excel out on the field, but also he proves himself in the classroom by being an A and B student.
   The same can be said for Parlier, as he also does well with making the grades for the future planning of life.
   "I'm just looking for a higher education and try to land a good paying job, and possibly raise a family sometime soon," said Parlier. "I'm going to go to college and if I can play football great, but I've got to get what I need."
   It's been a bittersweet year for Parlier. He's not produced the stats he had a year ago, but does an excellent job of taking it in stride and wanting what's best for the team.
   "You couldn't ask for a much better season besides a couple of games we should have won, but 5-4 is more games we've won than in the three other years I've been here," said Parlier. "We've got to give it up to our line. That's been our weaker point in the past and they've really come alive this year."
   After being switch from the role of the backfield to the line, Parlier has done what ever he's asked to do, and you won't find many athletes willing to step down from the spotlight.
   "The team's doing well and I wasn't really worried that much about shining, but I just want to help my team win," said Parlier. "I told them if it gets that bad, then put me down at guard and I'll do something there."
   Though he has not gained as many yards, Parlier has still provided punch when called upon, with two touchdowns coming in the Rangers' final home game this season.
   "Charles Lee (Guinn) has been running the ball good and there's nothing going to take the spotlight off that boy right now," said Parlier. "I've done a good job with my blocking, and I've always thought it was just as good to go out here and lay a block out and watch him take it 96 yards like he did the other day."
   Both players are very pleased when it comes to their view on their senior season, as this is the first time in their careers that Unaka's having a winning year and experiencing the playoffs.
   "It feels great to finally have a winning season, and I think we finally have the ball rolling for the future, and it also feels good to be in the playoffs. That hasn't happen since 1994." said Richardson.
   As far as the Rangers' optimism about coming away with a victory on Friday against Midway, it's probably the most confidence an Unaka ball club has experienced in a long while.
   "I think we have a real good chance if we just keep the momentum up and get pressure on the quarterback," said Richardson.
   It's not hard to figure out where Richardson's athletic ability and level head come from. His dad, Kim, still holds the all-time career rushing yards mark at Unaka.
   "He's inspired me to do what I've done, but I can't do the stuff he's done. He's pretty incredible," said Richardson. "He's a big influence and inspiration, and he's helped me with a couple of cut moves, but mainly been supportive in what I do."
   Andrew's brother, Chris, is also a part of the football squad at Unaka, and this has enabled the two to have a tight-knit relationship among family.
   "I love playing with my brother, and he helped me score touchdowns by making the block," said Richardson. "I think we help each other with momentum. When I run better he blocks better. Of course, he blocks well anyway."
   Parlier has also had some close influence growing up through the ranks of football. Not only is Mike Ensor his coach, but also an uncle.
   "When he's out there he's Coach Ensor and not Uncle Mike, but I've been playing for family members since I was knee high in grasshoppers," said Parlier. "He's hard on me but he's hard on everybody, and that's expected because you ask more from your better players."
   Richardson is still not certain what his future holds after high school, but his intentions are to future his education and see what options are available.
   "Maybe pre-pharmacy is what I want to major in, but as of right now I really don't know, and I'll play it as it goes," said Richardson.
   On his off time Andrew like to camp and fish, but his strong belief in God is what makes him proud of who he is.
   "I'm glad to be in church and happy to be a Christian," said Richardson. "I make sure I stay away from drugs and alcohol just doing the best I can."
   Coach Ensor is extremely proud of both of his senior players for their effort of both on and off the field, as this is a pair that cannot easily be replaced.
   There both excellent students who make good grades, and they've been a big part of our success this season," said Ensor. "We're going to truly miss them. They're the kind of players that listen and do whatever is asked of them."