Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of features on area players selected to the North-South All-Star Football Classic to be held at 7 p.m. Saturday at Charleston's Laidley Field.
East Hardy High is losing one of the top players in school history with the graduation of Josh Parker.
The 6-2, 170-pound receiver/defensive back was a prime reason the Cougars finished with a 9-1 regular season and advanced into the playoffs in 2012.
In the first round, East Hardy matched up against two-time defending champion Wheeling Central, and won the contest by a score of 60-34.
In that game, Parker set a playoff record for receiving yards when he caught eight balls for 232 yards and three touchdowns. The Cougars lost in the second round to second seed Magnolia High in a close 19-14 decision.
Parker had a prolific season and career for East Hardy. He was first team Class A All-State selection this year and All-Potomac Valley Conference pick for three years. He was also voted first team All-Area in the Harrisonburg Daily News Record. He has the Cougars' single game, season and career records for receiving yards in addition to his playoff record.
He finished his senior season with 1,932 yards and had nine interceptions for the year at the defensive back position.
"He's one of the best we've ever had here,"?East Hardy coach Chad Williams said.
"Josh Parker is the best receivers in Class A and possibly the best receiver in the state."
Williams also noted that the invitation of Parker to the North-South AllStar game was great recognition for both the Cougar program and for Parker.
"Being in a rural area, we don't always get the recognition that the cities enjoy," Williams said.
Parker said he was very happy to receive an invitation to the contest, which features the state's best players.
"Being picked for the game was special and great respect for me coming from a small school," Parker said.
Parker plans to attend Fairmont State University in the fall and playing football for the Falcons. His favorite memory from his days at East Hardy was beating rival Moorefield two years in a row, mentioning that "it had been 10 years since we beat them."
The last player from East Hardy to play in the North-South All-Star Classic was Tyler Kerr, who is now playing for Concord College.