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HAMMOCK: Parkview closing in on surprising title

Todd Cline and Will Hammock discuss Parkview's run for the region title and the return of the Panthers.


Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan — Parkview players take the field prior to the start of their game against Brookwood earlier this season. The Panthers defeated the Broncos 21-14.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan — Parkview players take the field prior to the start of their game against Brookwood earlier this season. The Panthers defeated the Broncos 21-14.

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Talkin' Football: Parkview's resurgence

Todd Cline and Will Hammock discuss Parkview's run for the region title and the return of the Panthers.

Todd Cline and Will Hammock discuss Parkview's run for the region title and the return of the Panthers.

Some called it a fluke.

Even though Parkview defeated nationally ranked Grayson 22-7 back in mid-September, not everyone was sold on the Panthers. It was a huge upset, their biggest win in years, and people figured it would help Parkview return to the playoffs.

But would that victory lead the way to a Region 8-AAAAAA title? Many scoffed at that idea.

The assumption was Parkview would lose to one or more playoff hopefuls in the region at some point, maybe Archer or Brookwood. But over the course of this season, the Panthers have proven those naysayers wrong with close wins over both of those teams.

Now here they are 6-1 overall and a perfect 5-0 in the region, alone in first place. There's no sense doubting them anymore. They're legit and in just a few weeks, we likely will be crowning them region champs.

If it plays out that way, it will probably be the most surprising region title that I can remember in my 16 football seasons here at the paper. Few gave Parkview, or anyone else, a chance at the region crown with defending state champion Grayson around.

The Panthers are just a few victories from pulling off that feat, though, with Central Gwinnett, Berkmar and South Gwinnett left on the schedule.

"Our kids are in a position they haven't been in for awhile," Parkview head coach Cecil Flowe said. "We've got to make sure they know where they're at and that they've still got to take it one game at a time."

From a historical perspective, it's neat to see the Panthers back on top. They were one of the state powers for years (remember the four state titles and 46-game winning streak from 2000-03), but had missed the playoffs entirely two of the past three seasons. They haven't won more than seven games in a season since 2005.

That slip led to people assuming Parkview's days as a power were over. That doesn't seem to be the case.

Flowe's team is winning with a strong defense and running game, building plenty of excitement as it pursues the program's first region title since 2004.

"There's an excitement around the school," Flowe said.

"The kids are back into it. The community members are back into it. Some people I haven't seen in years are coming back to the games."

Will Hammock can be reached via email at will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Thursdays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willhammock. For Hammock's blog, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willsworld.