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Flowe, Panthers made adjustments on the fly

File Photo In this file photo, Parkview head football coach Cecil Flowe is seen on the sidelines during a game.

File Photo In this file photo, Parkview head football coach Cecil Flowe is seen on the sidelines during a game.

Throughout his tenure as head coach at Parkview, Cecil Flowe and his staff have never ceased working hard.

But the 20-year veteran and current dean of Gwinnett's high school coaches and his staff and players have rarely had to deal with as much as the Panthers did in this season.

Faced with the usual tough schedule in the always rugged Region 8 of the state's highest classification and injuries in key positions throughout the starting line-up, Flowe, his assistants and players were faced with numerous obstacles throughout the 2012 campaign.

And under Flowe's guidance, they overcame those obstacles, earning him the Daily Post's Coach of the Year honor in a season of several notable coaching jobs -- most notably, state championship runs by Norcross' Keith Maloof and Buford's Jess Simpson.

"It was definitely the work of a lot of people to orchestrate some things," Flowe said. "You just have to find a way to win. ... There are always adjustments you have to make. Some of them you can deal with. ... It's a real balancing act. You just keep making adjustments and make it happen."

Chief among the adjustments Flowe and the Parkview staff were forced to make this season were those involving personnel where injuries forced key contributors out of the line-up for weeks at a time.

In fact, not many teams have been able to overcome losing a starting quarterback (in this case, senior Rob Youngblood) for six weeks down the stretch of the regular season, as well as the team's rushing leader (senior Chris Carson, who led the county with 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns through eight games) for the final two weeks of the regular season and the playoffs.

Yet, despite those hardships, Flowe and his staff were able to move the right players around to create just enough offense to complement a seasoned, well-disciplined defense that allowed just 15.7 points per game.

The combination helped the Panthers (9-4) not only make the postseason, but record their first playoff win and state quarterfinals appearance since 2005.

"The biggest thing was our defense stayed strong all year long," Flowe said. "They gave the offense a chance to develop. And you know, we'd been working on some things that we might not have had to do had there not been the injuries. So, there's always a silver lining."