Carson carries Parkview to win over Central

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Chris Carson just stood in one place on the field after the game.

Family and friends came and went, but the Parkview running back didn't move much.

"Exhausted," he said.

And for good reason.

The Panthers' emerging offensive threat just finished a game where he ran for 184 yards on 30 carries, three touchdowns and a two-point conversion in Parkview's come-from-behind 22-15 win over Central Gwinnett.

One hundred third six of Carson's yards came in the second half where Parkview kept possession and picked up 11 first downs, a fortune compared to the four of the first half.

"It made me feel like they trust me," Carson said of his showcase half. "I am glad we got the win."

The win keeps Parkview unbeaten in Region 8-AAAAA, keeping it in the hunt for a return to the playoffs. And with Carson running with confidence, the Panthers are a threat to keep the wins coming.

"(Carson) showed me that he wanted the ball," Parkview coach Cecil Flowe said. "He just keeps getting better and better and better."

At the start of the game, it looked like Parkview would get past Central, playing without its best defensive player, with ease.

The Black Knights' Eman Westmoreland's first pass found Parkview's Bryce Lewis, setting up Carson's first touchdown. The Panther picked off Westmoreland again on the next possession and Parkview got the ball on the 45-yard line. But the Black Knights forced a punt and never allowed Parkview much room the rest of the first half.

And then, the Black Knights found their stride.

Central marched 80 yards in 12 plays capped off by a 4-yard run by Westmoreland. A two-point conversion later, the Knights led 8-7.

The Knights' offense kept up its pressure, scoring again in the second quarter on an 18-yard fade from Westmoreland to Malachi Jones.

After putting the two picks behind him, Westmoreland ended the first half with 216 yards on 18 of 27 passing. He also rushed for 45 yards.

And Parkview couldn't move the ball. The Panthers managed just 71 first-half yards with their biggest play coming in the final minute when Carson ripped off a 28-yard run, but penalties kept the Panthers from even crossing midfield.

But that run just got Carson started.

"It gave me confidence," Carson said of the breakaway run.

And that showed.

A halftime blocking adjustment opened up slightly bigger holes for Carson and he plowed through them with purpose.

Parkview opened the third quarter with a three-play touchdown drive, and Carson's second touchdown. The junior showed his extra gear on a 31-yard scamper and he powered in for the two-point conversion to tie the game at 15.

Each second-half possession, Parkview plugged away with Carson, who got all but two of the second-half carries but the Central defense kept denying the go-ahead score.

"They fought," said Central head coach Todd Wofford of his defense.

But his offense never regained that second-quarter rhythm despite getting 316 yards passing from Westmoreland on 29 of 48 passing. But the Knights hurt themselves with more than 100 yards in penalties and three turnovers on downs.

"It's about how many times they cross the stripe in a game like this," Flowe said of Central's offense, giving credit to his defense for rattling the Knights in the second half. "Our defense stepped up."

And Carson and the offense did the rest scoring the go-ahead touchdown with 9:39 left in the game. Again it was Carson fighting in from three yards out.

"We're growing," Flowe said. "This is a big win."