LILBURN - So much for that whole idea of Parkview being down this year.
The perennial state power came out Friday night and dominated a good Central Gwinnett team 30-3 to wrap up the second seed in Region 8-AAAAA and guarantee a home game in the first round of the state playoffs.
Parkview is 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the region. Central drops to 6-3 and 4-2.
"It shows that we're not down," Parkview tight end Michael Palmer said. "Everybody's trying to shoot us down, and we're not down."
Said Parkview head coach Cecil Flowe: "Our kids have some pride, now. And when you kick a dog when he's down sometimes he'll get up and bite you."
Sensational junior running back Caleb King ran for a career-best 309 yards and a touchdown on a career-high 39 carries to pace a Parkview unit that gained 413 yards of total offense and 20 first downs.
"When we all come together like this, nobody can stop us," King said.
The Black Knights certainly couldn't, as the Parkview offense wasn't forced to punt all night.
And the defense was equally impressive. The Panthers shut down Central's vaunted double-slot offense, limiting the Black Knights to just three first downs and three points before a meaningless drive at the end of the game.
Parkview held Central to just 132 yards of total offense and 49 yards rushing on 22 carries.
"I'm going to tell you something, our scout team did a great job this week," Flowe said. "We force them to give us a good look, and they do. And our coaches had a good scheme against (Central's offense)."
Central actually took the first lead of the game, which was delayed 15 minutes by perhaps the longest senior night ceremony in county history, when Devin Sabina kicked a 50-yard field goal with 7:51 left in the first
From there however, it was all Parkview.
Kicker Josh Veal connected on field goals of 36, 27 and 35 yards as the Panthers took a 9-3 lead into the locker room.
It was evident from the start that the offensive game plan was to get King the ball. A lot.
The junior carried the ball on 20 of the Panthers' 28 first-half plays and gained 131 yards.
And he was just getting started. He came out in the second half, after a brief halftime delay when the field lights went out, and ran for 178 more on 19 carries as the Panthers took control of the game.
"I didn't know it was almost 40 carries," King said. "I thought it was more like 20-something. And I didn't know I was close to 300."
So was he tired after so many carries?
"No, I'm fine," King said with a smile. "I could play another game right now."
The Black Knights would just as soon wait 'till next year to see King again.
"He's special," Palmer said. "He makes our job a
Palmer scored the game's first touchdown when he caught a 20-yard fade pass from Patrick Witt with 5:53 remaining in the third quarter.
King extended the lead to 23-3 with a 40-yard TD run late in the third and Witt put the game completely out of reach with an 8-yard scoring run with 4:31 left in the
In total, Parkview rushed for 367 yards on an astounding 50 rushing attempts. It was a dominant display by the Panthers' offensive line against the aggressive Black Knight defensive front.
"It was definitely close to the best game we've played," Palmer said. "We dominated for pretty much the entire game ... and we just got after it, basically. That was the first game where we've really gotten after it. Watching film all week and seeing how much they were slanting, we just knew the best way to do it was to go straight at them."
And it worked, as the Black Knights had a hard time slowing down the Parkview offense all game.
Upstart Central, which has already earned its second straight playoff berth, came into the game wondering if had narrowed the gap with the traditionally powerful Panthers.
Instead the Black Knights and head coach Bradley Warren got Parkview's best game of the year.
"(Warren) told me, he said, 'You guys are so much better than what you look like on film,'" Flowe said. "I said, 'Well we've been struggling, but we're getting better.' We're getting healthy ... and it's a momentum deal now. The nose of your plane has got to be climbing in altitude now.
"There's no flying on auto-pilot. And that's what I was proud of the kids for, we went out there and got after them."