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Parker, Airedales host spring game- 05/18/2021

By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools 


Judson Parker is the type of kid who would pull over in the midst of a driving spring rainshower to help someone change a flat tire. 

He'd do it if it meant making an illegal u turn to help someone in need on the other side of the road, too. 

"He is a laid back guy, but he does have some intensity, too," Alma coach Rusty Bush said. "He's just a good ole hard-working country kid. I'm going to tell you, when he gets in there and mixes it up, he does have a little nastiness about him."

Parker said he does his best to leave his nice-guy persona at the door when it comes to football.

"I think it's all in our minds," Parker said. "There is a switch, and you have to find it. Every person is different; your mind of bringing old memories back from the season before, maybe. You have to channel that into your next season."

Parker and Co. will get their first solid look at one another Thursday when Bush and the Airedales host their 6 p.m. spring game at Airedale Stadium. 

"It really means a lot to us to have people come out and watch us," Parker said. "It kind of gives you the nervous feeling before the first play."

Playing before the home fans is special, Parker said.

"To play here in Alma is special; coach Bush always tells us that," Parker said. "I've seen a lot of other schools who are not as fortunate as we are. This is your last year and you've got to do all you can to help the team. I think most high schools get that, but here it's different. 

"I think it's the best environment to play in."

Alma finished 2-8 during the 2020 season. The team finished a strong note, putting up 35 points in a loss to Greenbrier and then beating Farmington in a defensive struggle in the season finale. 

"I think skill-wise, there is a lot of carry-over," Parker said. "Strength-wise, we've gotten stronger during the winter. I think there's a lot of new stuff we're adding that we're having to learn with our new coaches."

Parker, who settled in nicely at left tackle in 2020, has adjusted quickly to new offensive line coach Vander Bowden.

"I really like our new o-line coach; he's really got the brains for the position that he's put in," Parker said. "He's super smart with our technique, and building new habits to help us get better throughout the off-season."

Parker is one of five returning players on the offensive line.

"Judd's such an anchor for us, especially on the offensive line," Bush said. "The left-tackle is extremely important. He's got 10 games under his belt, and I feel like at the end of the season he was probably playing the best out of all the offensive linemen. We have to get some defensive line play from him, too. 

"He'll be a redzone guy for us."

"I prefer the offensive line," Parker said. "(But) this is really the first year I've gotten to play on the d-line consistently during spring practice. I can't really make up my mind which one I like best. I like the offensive line, because I know it, but I like defense, too."