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Running game, defense set tone for Parkview's 20-7 win over South

Parkview running back Chris Carson (23) is tackled by South Gwinnett defensive back Corey Cooper (28) during the first quarter of Friday's game at South Gwinnett.

Parkview running back Chris Carson (23) is tackled by South Gwinnett defensive back Corey Cooper (28) during the first quarter of Friday's game at South Gwinnett.

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South Gwinnett quarterback Mason Hart (14) rushes for a gain and is driven out of bounds by Parkview defensive back Bryce Lewis (18) during the first quarter of Fridays's game played at South Gwinnett.

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Parkview at South Gwinnett highlights

Highlights from Parkview's 20-7 win over 8-AAAAA foe South Gwinnett on Sept. 23, 2011.

Highlights from Parkview's 20-7 win over 8-AAAAA foe South Gwinnett on Sept. 23, 2011.

SNELLVILLE -- Patience, persistence and momentum were the buzzwords for Parkview in its Region 8-AAAAA game against South Gwinnett.

The Panthers bided their time while the host Comets rolled up plenty of yardage, but few points in the first half.

Then a score right before the half shifted momentum, and the Panthers pounded away with the running game in the second half -- with a little razzle dazzle sprinkled in -- as Parkview pulled away for a 20-7 victory Friday night at Richard Snell Stadium.

Chris Carson ran for 127 yards and two touchdowns, both in the second half as the Panthers (2-2, 2-0) moved into a tie with No. 3 state-ranked Grayson and Dacula atop the region standings.

"This is kind of a blueprint." Parkview coach Cecil Flowe said. "This is the kind of win we need, the kind of win the program is known for -- just get in there and play hard-nosed football. It's always good to win."

The Panthers laid the foundation for that blueprint even after South (1-4, 1-2) was able to continue last week's trend by piling up yardage in the first half, with 208 total yards in the first 24 minutes.

But the Parkview defense made sure those yards didn't always translate into points.

Twice in the opening quarter, the Comets drove deep into Parkview territory, only to have the Panthers stiffen and hold -- the first drive ending on downs at the 22 and the second getting as deep as the 28 before penalties drove South back towards midfield.

"We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot," Comets coach John Small said. "We kept putting ourselves in a bind and couldn't get out of it. That's a credit (to Parkview). We didn't take advantage of some opportunities, and they executed when they had to and we did not."

But the South defense was also doing a solid job of holding Parkview, and the offense finally broke through late in the half.

Taking possession after a punt at their own 44, the Comets rolled 56 yards in just six plays, with Travon Davis breaking loose after a counter to the left and zig-zagging his way through the Parkview secondary for a 17-yard touchdown run to give South a 7-0 lead with 3:16 left in the half.

But Parkview got its offense cranked up for a quick answer.

The Panthers got a big kickoff return by Demonte Dawson to take over at their own 44, and a 28-yard run on an end-around sweep by Jordan Reid put them into prime scoring position.

And Jack Esmonde finished the drive by hitting Reid from 5 yards out with 38.8 seconds left in the half, but a Comet gunner got a fingertip on the extra point, leaving South with a 7-6 lead heading into intermission.

Still, momentum had switched back to a white and orange jersey.

"We needed a score right there," Flowe said. "And we got it."

It took a while for Parkview to firmly re-establish that momentum in the third quarter, but the Panthers finally began to do that late in the period by reaching into their bag of tricks.

Backup quarterback Rob Youngblood lined up in a Wildcat formation and rolled to his right before spotting starting signal caller Jack Esmonde wide open behind the South defense.

Esmonde was caught from behind 65 yards later at the Comets' 12, but the play set the stage for two big runs by Carson, the second one a 4-yard score, which, combined with Esmonde's two-point conversion pass to Colby Smith, gave the Panthers their first lead of the night at 14-7 with 1:33 left in the third quarter.

More razzle dazzle helped Parkview build on that lead on its first possession of the fourth quarter, as Esmonde threw a backwards lateral into the flat to Jordan Reid, who fired a strike to Keanu Mole for a 27-yard completion to the Parkview 45.

The Panthers then began to pound away with Carson and the run game, grinding out the next 55 yards in eight plays, with the 6-foot-2, 185-pound junior rumbling into the end zone from 11 yards out to push the Parkview lead to 20-7 with 8:26 to play.

"The blocking was great," Carson said. "And after (the two long passes) they had to start playing the pass. And (South was) tiring. We just kept smashing them in the mouth over and over again. We knew if we kept going, we were going to wear them down."

The physicality caused attrition on both sides, with Parkview running back/linebacker Patrick Flowe leaving the game with what was believed to be a dislocated wrist and South linebacker Anthony Beck leaving with a knee injury. Both are expected to be out multiple weeks.

On a brighter note for South, Mason Hart finished the game 12 of 21 for 142 yards, including six completions to Bernard Morrison for 114 yards.