But don’t mistake his being humble for a lack of athleticism. While he doesn’t possess any of the typical cliches (biggest, fastest, strongest), he more than makes up for that with on-field intelligence and a knack for making big plays at crucial times.
Woods cites Fenwick’s clash with rival St. Mary’s of Lynn last month where Parsons caught St. Mary’s speedster Jordan Manthorne from behind not because he was faster, but more because of pure desire and taking the quickest route to the ball. Fenwick won the game handily and with it, the Catholic Central League Large title.
“In another game against Cardinal Spellman, Tommy made some big plays that showed up on the stat sheet ... and some bigger plays that didn’t,” said Woods. “It wasn’t until you go back and watch the film and say, ‘How did so-and-so get by that guy?’ or ‘Why was it so easy for so-and-so to make that tackle?’, and you see it was Tommy that allowed both of those things to happen.
“Even on offense, Tommy throws big blocks and runs great routes. He’s smart enough to think, ‘I’ll take the corner deep so Charlie can run an underneath route, get open and really make something happen after the catch.’ It’s rare for a high school kid to think that way; I can’t remember the last one we had that was really like Tommy.”
He even makes his presence felt on special teams, where he’s blocked a few punts and is the contain guy on Fenwick’s kickoff team, where no one has gotten outside of him all season.
Parsons, whose twin sister Taylor is a football cheerleading captain (and whose older sister, Jess, also attended Fenwick), said it’s a matter of transferring what he picks up during film study onto the field with him.