Parkview #4 Justis Rosser
CUMMING -- Taking a look back at the scores of Parkview's wins from this season, one is quick to notice that virtually every one was close.
Last week's first-round playoff win was no different as the Panthers knocked off Walton in two overtimes, and that trend continued Friday night.
Facing West Forsyth in the second round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs, the Panthers once again needed overtime as they upset the eighth-ranked Wolverines 26-23, securing the win on their first play in the extra period when Justis Rosser ran around the left end 15 yards for the game-winning score.
"They fight and that's all I ask them to do," Parkview head coach Cecil Flowe said of his team. "No one has been giving us a chance and they just keep going out and making plays."
Headed into overtime tied at 20-20, West Forsyth (10-2) took the first possession and went backwards, largely due to a huge sack of quarterback A.J. Erdely from Rosser and Sam Willis.
That forced the Wolverines to send in Timmy Hartshorn for a 46-yard field goal, whose kick just skimmed over the crossbar for the 23-20 lead.
The Panthers would need just one play, however, to secure their spot in next week's quarterfinals.
"(Offensive coordinator) Robert (Hill) made a great call on that play," Flowe said.
While it was a timely call by the offensive coordinator, the Parkview defense is what turned the tide in the second half, holding the high-powered Wolverine offense to just three points in the final two quarters.
That gave the Parkview offense, which trailed 17-13 at the half, just enough leverage to tie the score in regulation and force overtime.
"In the third quarter, we picked up the pace on defense," Flowe said. "We stopped a good quarterback and were really able to get after them."
Parkview (9-3) took the lead on its opening possession when quarterback Rob Youngblood hit Mac Marshall on a deep post for a 37-yard touchdown pass.
While not throwing the ball much, Youngblood still produced in the passing game, gaining 102 yards and one TD on 6 of 10 attempts.
West would answer with the game's next three scores, tying the game late in the first on a 3-yard run from Erdely.
One the ensuing kickoff, Parkview would fumble, giving the Wolverines the ball at the Panther 23, cashing in three plays later with a 3-yard scoring run from Mohamed Camara early in the second.
Hartshorn would later boot home a 24-yard field goal for the 17-7 lead, but Parkview answered with an impressive 12-play, 76-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard TD run from Shaq Vereen.
The PAT, however, was blocked, keeping West Forsyth up 17-13 at the break.
West Forsyth would open the second half and put together a solid drive inside the Parkview 10, but the Panther defense would stiffen and again force a Hartshorn field goal attempt, this time from 25 yards out to go up 20-13.
That score held until early in the fourth quarter when Vereen capped off a 6-play, 72-yard drive with his second TD of the night, this time from five yards out.
Vereen's second TD and Tyler Stephenson's PAT tied the score at 20-20, once again placing the Panthers in a close-knit battle.
Parkview had a chance to win in regulation when the Panthers recovered a West Forsyth fumble on its own 49 with 3:42 left, but this time it was the Wolverine defense coming up big, eventually forcing the Panthers to punt with under a minute left to play.
The only dark moment for the Panthers came in the middle of the fourth when center Blake Dunham was left lying motionless after a running play by Rosser. The game was delayed nearly 25 minutes while Forsyth County emergency medical staff prepared him for transport.
"You can never be sure with these type of injuries and most of what was done was for precautionary reasons," Flowe said. "He was in the ambulance taking off his tape so he had full movement of his arms and legs. He sent me a text later telling us to win."
And win Parkview did, setting up a date in the quarterfinals at home next Friday against Colquitt County.