Most defensive players dream of scoring touchdowns and then there’s Lutheran West senior Jake Parrella, who seems to collect them.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound outside linebacker scored on two pick-sixes and a scoop-and-score in the Longhorns’ 51-20 win at Westlake on Friday.
“I can’t even put it into words,” Parrella said when asked to describe the experience. “It was an awesome experience I will never forget. I’m just glad I could make some big plays for our team to get this big win.”
After a 41-0 loss to Wickliffe in Week 1, the Longhorns were desperate for a bounce back game.
Parrella helped deliver even more.
“Obviously, we were disappointed in our Week 1 game,” he said. “We were really focused and dialed in this past week at practice because we knew we could play so much better than that. Playing well and winning this past week gave us momentum we needed for the rest of the season.”
Both of Parrella’s pick-sixes came off of Westlake screen passes.
The Lutheran West defensive line pressured the quarterback and Parrella identified the screen early and jumped in front of the passes with a clear path to the end zone in front of him. One return went for 82 yards and the other covered 20.
Parrella’s scoop-and-score was the result of a great defensive play by the big guys up front.
“One of our D-linemen, Joe Dotson, made a huge play and sacked and stripped the quarterback,” Parrella said. “I saw the ball fly out of the quarterback’s hand, picked it up and ran for the end zone.”
Junior Eddie Lewis ran for 240 yards on 24 carries and scored three times in the win. Senior Tyler DeSimpelare added field goals of 21, 35 and 39 yards.
“This game meant a lot for me,” Parrella said> “When we didn’t know if we could play this year or not, it made me not take any practice or game for granted. With me making those plays, that was just an added bonus to our great team win.”
Parrella is in his second year at Lutheran West after moving to Ohio from Nebraska when his father, John Parrella, was hired as the defensive line coach with the Cleveland Browns.
The elder Parrella, now a coach at Lutheran West, played collegiately at the University of Nebraska. He was a second-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills in 1993 and he also played for the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders before several stints as a high school and college coach.
Parrella’s older brothers also played football.
Zach played at Hastings College in Nebraska and now is a member of the strength and conditioning staff at Louisiana Tech and Alex played at South Dakota State.
Parrella hopes to become the next member of his family to play in college.
“I’m starting to get interest from schools to play football at all levels,” he said. “I’ve had Division I, Division II, and NAIA schools contact me.”