Rick O'Brien: Germantown's Parks a regular 'Neon Deion'

Ability to score on both sides of the ball and as a kick returner? Check. Ever-present swagger? Check. Do-rag? Check.

Yes, Germantown's Will Parks could be the next Deion Sanders, the athletic senior's all-time favorite NFL player.

Myles Brooker is a senior speedster at receiver and corner for the Bears.

But wasn't Parks sometimes rubbed the wrong way by the Hall of Famer's showboating?

"Nah," he said. "If you want to have fun, have fun. It's OK to show your love for the game."

As Sanders was for several NFL clubs, Parks is a do-everything type for the Bears. He is a threat as a wide receiver and running back, a shutdown left cornerback, and highly dangerous as a kick returner.

In Friday's Public League Class AAAA Gold Division matchup against Fels, the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder notched three touchdowns, including an 87-yard interception return, as visiting Germantown rolled to a 49-16 victory at Northeast High.

Parks, who wears No. 11, not Sanders' No. 21, opened the scoring by beating his defender along the left sideline and hauling in a 30-yard pass from Cedric Wright. In a 21-point third quarter, Parks found the end zone on a 3-yard run.

Parks and the Bears rebounded from a 35-12, season-opening loss against District 11's Emmaus. "That was a very good team," the 17-year-old said. "I wasn't that disappointed. We took some positives away from the game."

On defense against Fels, Parks was matched against wideout Nijay Kelly. "He had two catches on me," Parks said. "I think I did a pretty good job on him."

Last year for Germantown, Parks served as a wideout, halfback, fullback, tight end, cornerback, and kick returner. "I try to be everything for the team," he said.

Growing up, Parks, who lives near Second Street and Lindley Avenue in Olney, played youth football for the Wissahickon Braves. One of his teammates was current Germantown senior Myles Brooker, also a speedy receiver and cornerback.

"We look at each other as brothers," said Parks, a point guard in basketball. "If he makes an interception, my head is on a swivel. If I make an interception, his head is on a swivel."

Parks started high school at Father Judge. He transferred to Germantown two weeks before his sophomore year. "Tuition money was an issue," he said. "I was a little bit bummed. But it's OK. Without struggle, there is no progress."

In May, Parks was working out at Germantown when two University of Pittsburgh assistants, co-offensive coordinator Mike Norvell and defensive backs coach Tony Gibson, showed up to take an up-close look at the multipurpose standout.

"We were doing a backpedaling drill," Parks said. "They watched me do it twice, then called me to the sideline. They offered me a scholarship right on the spot. I couldn't believe it. I was hopping around like crazy."

In mid-June, after visiting Pittsburgh, Parks committed to the Panthers. He is projected to be a cornerback in college.

"Pitt's coaches believe in integrity, character, and discipline," he said. "They want to make you a better person. They dedicate their lives to helping shape and mold young men. That stuck with me."

With Parks and Brooker as catalysts, Germantown will try for its first Public League crown since 1999. Other key contributors for veteran coach Mike Hawkins are running back Ackeno Robertson, two-way linemen Kwame Miller and Diamir Baker, and two-way back Aaron Boyd.

"I think we'll be in the hunt for the title," Parks said. "It's OK if nobody else believes that. We want people to sleep on us."

Extra points. George Washington halfback Aaron White is expected to be out at least a few more weeks because of an injured knee. . . . Marple Newtown's Cimirrow Moat has carried 29 times for 452 yards (15.6-yard average) and seven TDs. . . . Upper Dublin's Andrew Derr has hit on 18 of 37 throws for 237 yards and three TDs. . . . Souderton's Tyler Scholl has carried 26 times for 241 yards and a pair of TDs. . . . Harriton junior Pat Moriarty is averaging 258 yards passing. . . . Coatesville's Dae-Hon Cheung has rushed 42 times for 423 yards and four touchdowns. . . . Abington senior halfback Ray Schreiner has gained 157 yards on 25 attempts. . . . In the third quarter of Plymouth Whitemarsh's 18-7 loss to Abington on Friday, linebacker Anthony Candelario and lineman Mike Martina notched back-to-back sacks for the Colonials.

Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019, robrien@phillynews.com,

or @ozoneinq on Twitter.