Parkulo tough enough for HuffBy Dave Morrison
When Woodrow Wilson coach John H. Lilly says senior linebacker Adam Parkulo is one of the toughest players he’s coached, it’s not your standard coachspeak.
Lilly comes equipped with facts.
“We were at the Mountain State Athletic Conference Football Jamboree (preseason scrimmage) and Adam got his helmet knocked off,” Lilly said. “He got kicked in the nose and needed 14 stitches to close the gash.”
Did he miss a game?
“The next week against Riverside he not only played, he had 14 tackles,” Lilly said. “That was tough.”
As a junior, Parkulo tore up his ankle.
He never missed a game.
All in a day’s work for Parkulo, who was named the Huff Award winner by the West Virginia Sportswriters’ Association Thursday. The award is given to the state’s top defensive player and named after former WVU All-American and NFL Hall of Famer Sam Huff.
“I first heard about that award when I was in ninth grade,” said Parkulo, who started 31 straight games for the Eagles. “Since then, it was my goal to win it. You always have to have personal goals as well as the team goals. Everybody does, whether they say they do or not.
“And that was one of mine. I was hoping to do it last year. We didn’t have a great year, so it didn’t work out. This year, we had more success as a team. I think that was the difference. It’s as much my teammates’ as it is mine.”
Parkulo will be honored at the Victory Awards Dinner May 7.
Parkulo’s play would make Sam Huff proud, as would his penchant for playing hurt.
“Playing with stitches in the nose wasn’t the hardest thing,” Parkulo said. “I mean, it was hard to breathe. But you fight through that. The worst part was the shield the doctor told me to wear on my helmet. It was a mud game that night (against Riverside). The mud started splashing up on the shield and made it hard to see. I think the shield made it three plays and I got rid of it.”
Parkulo set the tone for a Woodrow team that finished 9-2 and spent a bulk of the year at No. 1 in Class AAA before falling to Nitro.
While offensive players often take over games with zig-zagging runs or long pass-and-catch plays, Parkulo often was as dominant on defense.
“Adam, at times, took over games,” Lilly said. “In the Capital game, in the last seven to 10 plays, he shut them down, whether it was pressuring the quarterback or stuffing the run. He had the ability to do that on defense and that is rare on the defensive side of the ball at this level.”
“I just tried to do what I could for the team,” said Parkulo, who has received football interest from West Virginia University, Marshall, Akron, Kent State, James Madison and Ohio, among others. “If it was making a tackle, blocking a kick, getting a sack, I wanted to do what helped Beckley win football games.”
He did a lot of it.
As a senior, he had 160 tackles, 16 sacks, 23 tackles for a loss and blocked three kicks.
He topped 100 tackles three straight seasons and finished with 16 blocked kicks during his career.
“That’s the thing that always stood out for me,” Lilly said. “I think that’s something he can do on the next level. The kid has the knack for doing it. I’ve never seen anyone like that.”
Parkulo, whose parents were athletes at Florida Southern — his dad played baseball, his mom volleyball — was also a first-team all-state catcher in baseball last spring. He likely will have the option to play either football or baseball in college.
“My mom and dad are both athletic and I guess God blessed me with some talent,” said Parkulo, whose brother plays on the Woodrow Wilson basketball team.
Others in the running for the award were University’s Cory Jackson and Wayne’s Trevor Marcum.