Parton rewrites record books
Salisbury had just six league games on its schedule entering the 2020 football season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But it was given the opportunity to schedule additional games if the Falcons could find an opponent any time before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Fortunately for the Falcons, they were able to schedule two additional games against Allen and Saucon Valley to end their fall season. And Falcon senior wide receiver Chad Parton was able to benefit from those extra games in a historic way.
Parton set numerous school records for Salisbury after a historic 2020 campaign. He set program records for single season receiving yards (1,052), single season receptions (58) and single season touchdown catches (12).
“Without those two games, I wouldn’t have had the single season receiving yards record or career touchdowns record,” Parton said. “I broke the last two records that I needed to break in my last game. The way it worked out was pretty amazing.”
Parton also holds Salisbury career records in receptions (127), receiving yards (2,113) and receiving touchdowns (23).
He’s also made a name for himself at the state and district level. He was on the ballot for the PA Football Writers All-State team in Class 3A. Those selections will be announced in the near future.
Across all six classifications, Parton ranked second in Pennsylvania in receiving yards per game with 131.5 and total receiving yards. His 58 catches are ranked third in the state, and his 12 receiving touchdowns are tied four fourth in Pennsylvania and tied for first in the entire District 11.
“Without the teammates surrounding me, and Quintin [Stephens] at quarterback, it wouldn’t be possible,” Parton said. “So I’m thankful for them. It’s been a crazy career. I don’t know what to say. I’m speechless.”
Parton was quick to credit his teammates and coaching staff for his record-breaking career. One relationship that has been crucial in that success is the one between Parton and Stephens. Both took massive leaps in their junior seasons, a year in which Parton broke out for 57 catches, 872 yards and 10 receiving touchdowns.
The quarterback-wide receiver relationship is one of the most crucial ones on the gridiron, and the two embodied that to the fullest. They would work out at least three times a week during the offseason, perfecting their timing and chemistry that would result in one of the best tandems in the Lehigh Valley.
“We’ve been by each other’s side the past two years,” Parton said. “We’ve been working and throwing the ball a tremendous amount in the offseason to build that connection.
“Gaining chemistry with [Quintin] was big. And being put in that role where I kind of needed to step up. Going into last year we lost a couple of good guys, like Delano McKenzie and Jacob Kamp. We lost athletes. Putting me in that role to step up was a big part of it.”
What makes it more impressive is Parton didn’t record a catch as a freshman and missed four games during his sophomore season due to an ankle injury. And then a shortened season as a senior due to COVID-19 stacked the deck against him even higher.
“I kept working to get better and better,” Parton said. “In my junior year I had that breakout season. Halfway through this year, one of my coaches was talking about that I was close to some records, and that’s when it hit me.”
Parton admits he is most comfortable in the slot receiver position, but as seen throughout his career at Salisbury, he can line up virtually anywhere on the field. He’s an explosive threat in multiple positions, racking up 16 total touchdowns in 2020 (which includes a passing touchdown and rushing touchdown).
He’s gotten to the end zone in just about every way possible.
On defense, Parton returned an interception for a touchdown to add to his total. And on special teams, he took a kickoff return to the house as well. He scored a touchdown in all eight games this season, and is the only Falcon to achieve 1,000 receiving yards in a season.
“I’m an athlete, but position-wise I see myself as a slot receiver,” Parton said. “I can play inside and outside; I did that this year and last year. I’m a big piece in the return game.”
Parton recorded 12 catches for 189 yards and one touchdown as a sophomore. He plans to attend college and play football, hopefully at the Division II level. He is also interested in business and finance.