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Parkview seeking tide change in meeting with rival Brookwood

For every bright spot, there’s a shadow for Parkview.

The Panthers are 3-4 with a disappointing overtime loss to Stephenson to open the season and another momentum-crushing loss last week to Grayson where the Panthers saw an early lead fade.

BROOKWOOD AT PARKVIEW

Brookwood Broncos (8-AAAAA)

Coach: Mark Crews

Record: 6-1, 4-1 region

Last week: Beat Shiloh 44-7

Parkview Panthers (8-AAAAA)

Coach: Cecil Flowe

Record: 3-4, 3-2 region

Last week: Lost to Grayson 28-13

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.

Series history:

• 2009: Brookwood 28, Parkview 14

• 2008: Parkview 7, Brookwood 0

• 2007: Brookwood 28, Parkview 3

• 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

** State championship game

“They play awful hard,” head coach Cecil Flowe said of his team.

And here comes Brookwood. The Broncos have won four of the teams’ last five meetings of the Battle of Five Forks-Trickum rivalry and are near the top of Region 8-AAAAA at 6-1. Since a loss to Dacula five weeks ago, the Broncos’ offense has come alive, averaging 45.5 points over their past four games.

“Brookwood’s arsenal is Brookwood’s arsenal,” Flowe said. “You’ve got to be able to cover a lot of stuff.”

That “stuff” starts with Michigan State commit A.J. Sims, but it only starts there. Nick Tompkins’ arrival as an offensive weapon at running back keeps the focus off the playmaker Sims and allows more time for quarterback Ben McLane. It’s a balanced offense with an ability to score quickly.

“We are able to make big plays on offense,” Crews said. “As I said early in the season, if our offensive line got better and developed and came along we had a chance to get better and better on offense. We have gotten much better pass blocking.

“They get excited about blocking for those guys that can go 70 any time you give them a crease.”

Parkview’s strength is its defense. Grayson needed big plays to put up points, Stephenson needed two overtimes, even South Gwinnett’s 37 is the third-lowest output for the Comets all season and Flowe points to the South game as a lost opportunity.

“Defensively, we had one bad week (against South),” Flowe said. “I think we play solid defensively.”

Crews agrees.

“They are getting to be a good football team,” Crews said. “We certainly can’t decide that they’ve lost a couple of football games so they are supposed to lose this one.”

But Brookwood plays defense pretty well itself. The Broncos, led by the county’s leading tackler Cameron Lynch, has allowed 34 total points since the loss to the Falcons. The most the Broncos have allowed in a game is 38 in two overtimes to Collins Hill. The offense in that game scored 45 points.

“The defense is coming along and doing a good job,” Crews said.

All that and we haven’t touched on the rivalry. The two teams, thanks to multiple state playoff meetings — including a state championship game — and neighboring communities, will always be linked. Sure this week is not for a state, or even region title, and it’s not even last year’s unofficial playoff game, with the winner moving on and the loser going home. It may be a must-win for Parkview and Brookwood is chasing seeding more than just extra games.

“The region seems to be shaking out,” Crews said. “But throw in a couple of losses, everybody is in there where you are fighting for your life.”

But its luster remains in the history of the teams and the memories of the big games of years past.

“Brookwood-Parkview will always be Brookwood-Parkview,” said Flowe, adding he has already heard from former players planning to attend.

“As always, it’s the Brookwood-Parkview rivalry,” Crews said. “I expect them to play their hearts out, just like I expect our kids to.”