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HAMMOCK: Don't write off Brookwood, Parkview just yet

It seemed unfathomable for years that Brookwood and Parkview, Gwinnett’s flagship football programs in Georgia’s biggest class, would struggle simultaneously. Or struggle at all.

Looking back, there was a period of nearly 15 years where the two powers never lost on the same day. My curiosity about that was satisfied this week with some help from the Georgia High School Football Historians Associations.

On Oct. 18, 1991, Parkview lost 28-7 to Central Gwinnett and Brookwood lost 30-17 to Clarke Central. The two schools didn’t lose a varsity football game on the same day again until Sept. 2, 2006, when they both lost season-opening Corky Kell Classic matchups — Parkview 30-6 to Warner Robins and Brookwood 21-17 to Camden County.

That run was amazing, which makes it harder to wrap my mind around where we stand now.

Brookwood and Parkview are both 0-3. Instead of their typical spots, they share a position at the bottom of Region 8-AAAAAA after region-opening losses last Friday — the Broncos losing to Archer and the Panthers losing to Grayson.

It may look like what other Gwinnett teams have begged for years, that it’s time to write off those two programs. Forget about the playoffs. It’s time for new teams in the postseason.

Not so fast on those hopes, though.

These two may be down for the moment, but they’re far from out. I expect both of them to play better in the coming weeks, improve their record and contend for playoff spots.

Though they’re both 0-1 in the region, their losses came to probably the two most talented teams in 8-AAAAAA. Brookwood’s two non-region losses came to teams who could make legitimate state title runs this year, McEachern and Mill Creek. Meanwhile, Parkview lost to another state title contender in Norcross and had 7-AAAAAA unbeaten Peachtree Ridge tied until a couple of interceptions for touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

While the Broncos didn’t play their best the first two weeks, I was impressed with the fight they showed last Friday against Archer. The Tigers led, but injury-plagued Brookwood fought back for a fourth-quarter lead that just slipped away. That effort, and much of the same coaching staff that has won two state titles, gives optimism for the coming weeks.

The same can be said for Parkview. Head coach Cecil Flowe, and some of his assistants, have won four state titles. Though last week’s loss to Grayson was rough, Flowe’s group showed toughness against Peachtree Ridge and even more in a battle with Norcross that it lost only 21-7.

It doesn’t get much easier this week for the Panthers, who host Archer, while the Broncos have a bye week to get ready for Sept. 27. That’s the Friday night of the Battle of Five Forks-Trickum, the rivalry night that will decide these two traditional powers’ playoffs fates, this year maybe more than ever.

It will bring one team closer to the playoffs, while dealing the other’s postseason hopes a painful blow.

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.