By Michael Alpert
For the AJC
Peachtree Ridge and Parkview never really got going Friday night, but the Panthers got barely enough offense to win the teams’ first meeting, 3-0, at Parkview’s Karl Bostick Field.
The difference was Tyler Stephenson’s 26-yard field goal with 8:18 remaining, despite a bobbled snap by holder Kurt Hickman. The winning kick was made possible by Chris Carson’s 13-yard run on fourth-and-4 six plays earlier.
Carson finished with a game-high 208 yards rushing, including another fourth-down conversion run that nearly helped Region 8-AAAAAA Parkview (1-0) to a touchdown in the late moments.
The Region 7-AAAAAA Lions, 42-0 losers to Camden County in the previous week’s Corky Kell Classic at the Georgia Dome, will welcome their idle date next Friday to regroup, before beginning region play Sept. 14 at Duluth.
The win was Parkview’s first in a season opener since its 3-0 start in 2007. Panthers coach Cecil Flowe considered setting a winning tone vital before another non-region game at Norcross, then beginning region against nationally ranked Grayson at home.
“It’s very important to play well your first time out,” Flowe said. “We need to put our stuff out on the line and play.”
Carson was the work horse against Peachtree Ridge, running for mostly single-digit gains. He uncorked a 22-yarder near the end of the first half and a 41-yarder to start Parkview’s scoring drive.
Peachtree Ridge couldn’t capitalize on early opportunities, gaining only 56 yards in the first half despite interceptions by Travis Bowers and Jackson Trawick and a fumble recovery Steven Wright.
Carson had that many yards himself in the first quarter, and 93 by halftime, but the Panthers had nothing to show for their efforts either. Parkview drove in the second quarter from its 9-yard line to Peachtree Ridge’s 22, where Rob Youngblood threw his second interception. The Panthers drove to Peachtree Ridge’s 16 in the final moments, but chose to run out the clock.
Lions coach Mark Fleetwood warned that having only two games before region is little time to work out kinks.
“Being young and coming up on region, you have to play well at this point,” he said. “We want to have the mental stuff down by this point.”
PARKVIEW 3, PEACHTREE RIDGE 0
Peachtree Ridge: 0 0 0 0 – 0
Parkview: 0 0 0 3 – 3
P — Tyler Stephenson 26 FG