Parkdale led 21-0 with less than six minutes left in the first half. Sherwood had countered by going on a seven-play, 63-yard drive during which senior quarterback Bobby Sheahin had completed three consecutive passes for 31 yards.
On first and 10 from Parkdale's 15-yard line, Panthers senior safety Markus McFadden intercepted a Sheahin pass at the Parkdale 12-yard line, cut to his left and headed down the sideline.
As the 5-foot-10, 175-pound McFadden crossed midfield, senior defensive end Faturoti Ofugbolahan and senior linebacker Marcus Shepard provided downfield blocking. That cleared a path for McFadden to run 88 yards for a touchdown and give Parkdale a 28-0 lead with 5 minutes 34 seconds left in the half.
"I read the quarterback's eyes, and when he threw it, I made the play," said McFadden, who made a team-high eight interceptions this season. "And after that, my teammates gave me some great blocking to get me into the end zone."
"That play by Markus broke their spirits," Parkdale senior running back Kevin Beverly said. "You could just see them hanging their heads like they knew the game was over. That was when I knew we were going to win the game."
McFadden's heroics on Friday -- he also caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Anthony Brown on Parkdale's fourth play from scrimmage -- capped an impressive postseason in which he has provided game-breaking plays the past two weeks.
In the state semifinals against Damascus, McFadden caught a game-winning 29-yard touchdown pass from Brown with a little more than two minutes remaining in the Panthers' 20-13 victory. His interception in the final minute sealed the win.
"We call Markus 'Jesus Shuttlesworth,' from that movie ['He Got Game'] because he's got game," Parkdale Coach Mike Rucker said of McFadden, who finished with a team-high 31 catches for 616 yards and nine touchdowns. "He had a great season, and was even better in the playoffs, and that's the time your big players come to play."
-- Jon Gallo