Staff Photo: John Bohn Parkview's Keanu Mole tries to break past a Grayson defender during last week's game.
Mark Crews took some time this week to compile some information on the Brookwood-Parkview rivalry.
Some of it the Brookwood head coach did from memory, a few other things he looked up. As this neighborhood battle turned big-time showdown enters its 30th installment Friday, looking back at some of the more idiosyncratic moments seemed appropriate.
Like that Parkview shut out Brookwood in the Broncos' first-ever varsity football game 35-0, one of just eight shutouts in the game's history. Or that Brookwood played its home games at Parkview from 1982 to 1989 and went 6-2 against the Panthers. Or that both Crews and Parkview head coach Cecil Flowe went to Columbia High School in Decatur.
Then there are the numbers. Six state titles, four for Parkview, two for Brookwood. Forty-two out of a possible 58 playoff appearances combined. Five hundred thirty-five combined wins.
"It's a big rivalry game," Crews said. "It's always kind of a close, hard-fought game. You don't really expect it to be any different."
But shiny pasts can fade. Great rivalries aren't inherently unending. But this battle of schools along Five Forks isn't losing its luster.
Just look at last season.
Brookwood won the state championship. Parkview just narrowly made the playoffs. Yet when the two teams met, the Broncos got their closest game of their final 12, a 10-3 win at the Panthers' Big Orange Jungle.
"We didn't capitalize one time and that was the difference in the game," Flowe said.
And now comes this year's game.
With the season just past the halfway mark, each game's importance magnifies. Both teams are 4-1 in Region 8-AAAAA, a game back of nationally ranked Grayson. Every loss now matters with Dacula also 4-1 and upstart Archer a game back at 3-2.
"These are defining games here," Flowe said. "You either win or you sit at home. You have to have some combination of wins."
The Panthers enter tonight after a tough loss to Grayson that showed Parkview how well it can play and how much every play can impact a game.
"They executed better than we executed," Flowe said of Grayson. "You have to put it behind you and move on. You got beat today but it's not the end of the world. You saw right away you can do things and you can compete."
But before that setback, Parkview had won four straight and found a big offensive threat in running back Chris Carson.
"They do a good job of running the ball and hiding what they do with different sets," Crews said. "Couple that with there is such familiarity between the two teams, the coaches have been coaching against each other for 30 years, there is not a lot for you to do with your game plan. It's a chess match."
It's a chess match that tilted toward Brookwood in recent years with the Broncos taking five of the past six and as always the Broncos continue to improve each week.
But it's this next game that matters, not just for No. 30, but to keep that No. 2 spot in the region and the home playoff hope alive. They are rivals with a long past, but the immediate future is all that matters along Five Forks-Trickum.
"If we don't win this one we could possibly not make the playoffs," Crews said. "This could turn out to be an elimination game."