With the playoff picture already set, this year's Battle of Five Forks-Trickum is all about pride.
With wins last week, Brookwood sealed up another Region 8-AAAAA championship and Parkview clinched another playoff berth.
But no matter the result of tonight's game, nothing changes. Brookwood (7-2, 6-0 region) will still be the No. 1 seed coming out of the region and Parkview (7-2, 4-2) will still be No. 4. No combinations of wins and loses can change that.
"It's a bragging rights game like always," said Parkview head coach Cecil Flowe. "The scenario is set as far the playoffs go. It's the Battle of Five Forks-Trickum and they are awful good."
Parkview's not too bad either. Two region losses for the Panthers makes tonight's battle a bit less glamorous than years past, but meeting those standards is tough to do. And with the history and proximity of the two schools, the game is rarely not competitive.
"It's a game where you look at a couple of years ago, when they were struggling, it was still a dog fight," Flowe said. "Last year it was a dog fight."
Last year's game was similar to this year's. Brookwood had Region 8-AAAAA locked up and Parkview was clinging to a playoff spot after struggling for much of the season. Still, the Panthers kept the game close at Brookwood until the final minutes when a turnover helped the Broncos put the game away.
"There is a little bit of familiarity and there aren't a great deal of secrets between what we do and what they do," said Brookwood head coach Mark Crews. "Our teams have been playing against each other for years and our coaches have been coaching against each other for years. The game usually comes down to, as any big games do, a couple of big plays."
For both teams, the big plays usually come from the running back spot. The Broncos' Kenny Miles has already rushed for 1,951 yards and 22 touchdowns in his senior season. Parkview's main back, Brandon Jacobs, has racked up 780 yards and eight touchdowns (one receiving) while also playing linebacker on defense.
"You better slow him down," Flowe said of Miles. "I don't know if you are going to stop him, he is just explosive. We don't use Brandon exclusively in the backfield, he excels on both sides of the ball."
Even though the game will not change anything about who the teams play in the coming weeks, both coaches see it as an opportunity to prepare for the rest of the season. It is not a throw-away game, filling the week before the playoffs begin.
"I am expecting them to play the best game they've played all year long," Crews said of Parkview. "I hope our kids will play the best game they've played all year long as well. For a number of reasons. One, you want to gain bragging rights over your next door neighbor. But you also want to roll into the playoffs hitting on all cylinders."
Said Flowe: "(Brookwood) is the kind of team you will line up and play in the playoffs. The games don't get easier, they get tougher."
And in this case, it's more than just a primer. This game always means more.
"It is a fun competition," Flowe said. "It is a game you look forward to every year."
SideBar: BROOKWOOD AT PARKVIEW
Brookwood Broncos (8-AAAAA)
Coach: Mark Crews
Record: 7-2, 6-0 region
Last week: Beat Central Gwinnett 45-19
Parkview Panthers (8-AAAAA)
Coach: Cecil Flowe
Record: 7-2, 4-2 region
Last week: Beat Meadowcreek 48-14
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: Brookwood won 28-14 last year
Directions to Parkview High School: From I-85, go east on Indian Trail Road until it becomes Killian Hill Road. Turn right on Arcado Road and then left on Cole Drive. School is on the left.
2006: Brookwood 28, Parkview 14
2005: Brookwood 35, Parkview 14
2004: Parkview 10, Brookwood 0
2003: Brookwood 35, Parkview 21
2002: Parkview 28, Brookwood 7**
2002: Parkview 17, Brookwood 10
2001: Parkview 24, Brookwood 7
2000: Parkview 18, Brookwood 17 (OT)
1999: Parkview 13, Brookwood 10 (OT)
1998: Brookwood 24, Parkview 0
1997: Brookwood 10, Parkview 7
1996: Brookwood 14, Parkview 7*
1996: Parkview 21, Brookwood 14
1995: Parkview 28, Brookwood 7
1994: Brookwood 10, Parkview 7
1991: Brookwood 28, Parkview 7
1990: Brookwood 28, Parkview 0
1989: Brookwood 32, Parkview 0
1988: Parkview 15, Brookwood 14
1987: Brookwood 27, Parkview 8
1986: Brookwood 29, Parkview 6
1985: Brookwood 23, Parkview 8
* Indicates playoff matchup
** State championship game