By Michael Alpert
For the AJC
Increasingly, it’s beginning to feel like the early 2000s for Parkview’s football team.
The latest step toward a potential state championship to match the Panthers’ three consecutive from 2000-02 was Friday’s 26-21 Region 8-AAAAAA victory at Dacula.
Parkview’s second win over Dacula in its last five tries not only tied South Gwinnett for the region lead at 4-0, but heightened Panthers coach Cecil Flowe’s belief this year’s team might rival Parkview’s best.
“We’ve had high expectations for this group,” Flowe said. “They’ve worked hard, and it’s paying off.
“I like our tempo,” Flowe added. “We’ve been flying around on defense, and we’ve really improved offensively.”
As usual, running back Chris Carson led Panthers, running for all four touchdowns and 169 yards. His six scores and 894 yards this season have the Panthers on a four-game win streak since their lone loss, 20-0, to Norcross in the season’s second game.
Carson’s 2-yard TD run put Parkview up 20-7 in the third quarter, and after Dacula drew within 20-14 early in the fourth, the senior’s 13-yarder kept the Panthers safely ahead 26-14.
The still winless Falcons came within the final margin on Marcus Cox’ 4-yard touchdown pass to Bijan Sirleaf with 2:44 to play.
The Panthers (5-1, 4-0) wasted little time taking the lead, driving 67 yards on their opening possession and going ahead 7-0 on Carson’s 3-yard run with three minutes left in the quarter. The Panthers built their biggest advantage of the half, 14-0, when Kurt Hickman intercepted a pass at midfield 7:04 before intermission and Brandon Sullivan ran four yards for a touchdown six plays later.
The Falcons (0-7, 0-5) pulled within 14-7 when Brandon Goodson passed 21 yards over the middle to Zentavius Cobb, who caught the ball in the end zone 1:21 before halftime.
Key for the Panthers was activating Carson early, springing him for 84 yards and a touchdown by halftime.
Dacula coach Jared Zito attributed Parkview’s success to steadiness.
“They’ve figured out their formula to win and they’re executing it,” he said. “They’re making first downs and scoring touchdowns, especially when they have to.”
PARKVIEW 26, DACULA 21
Parkview: 7 7 6 6 – 26
Dacula: 0 7 0 14 – 21
P — Chris Carson 3 run (Tyler Stephenson kick)
P — Carson 4 run (Stephenson kick)
D — Zentavius Cobb 21 pass from Brandon Goodson ( Nick Mattucci kick)
P — Carson 2 run (kick failed)
D — Kelan Fraise 36 run (Mattucci kick)
P — Carson 13 run (run failed)
D — Bijan Sirleaf 4 pass from Marcus Cox (Mattucci kick)