Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Parkview running back Chris Carson (23) gives a stiff arm to the face mask of Brookwood free safety DaQuan Joy (84) during high school football action at Parkview High School in Lilburn on Friday. Parkview defeated Brookwood 21-14.
HIGHLIGHTS: Brookwood vs. Parkview
Highlights from the Brookwood vs. Parkview football game in which the Panthers defeated the Broncos 21-14.
LILBURN -- Ultimately, the 31st edition of the "Battle of Five Forks" came down to Parkview's running game, and Brookwood's inability to stop it enough.
Chris Carson ran for 258 of his team's 426 rushing yards, while the Parkview defense withstood a furious aerial assault in Brookwood's comeback attempt as the Panthers held on for a 21-14 win Friday night at the Big Orange Jungle.
Carson also scored two touchdowns as Parkview (4-1, 3-0) not only claimed just its third win in the last 10 games against its neighborhood rival, but also put itself in strong position in the Region 8-AAAAAA race, having already beaten three of last year's four state playoff teams.
"I knew this was a rivalry game, so I had to give it my all," said Carson, who recently received a scholarship offer from South Florida and gave Auburn coaches in attendance Friday plenty to look at. "That drove me the most.
"We knew these four games were (among) our biggest tests, but we've still got to come out and work because everybody's going to give us their best."
Even Brookwood's best couldn't slow down Carson and the Panthers offense despite the fact the Panthers officially attempted just one pass on the evening -- a second pass was negated by a penalty in the second half.
"We didn't stop (Carson) enough," Brookwood coach Mark Crews said. "We didn't play well enough on defense to stop him."
The Broncos (2-2, 1-1) also had problems slowing down other Parkview runners, including quarterback Mac Marshall, who finished with 102 yards, including a long TD run in the first half -- one of two big play scores that helped the Panthers establish momentum.
Both scores came after Parkview was backed up deep in its own territory, and the first by Carson got the Panthers on the board midway through the first quarter with a relentless individual effort.
The senior first got his team out of the shadow of his own end zone with a 22-yard run out to the Parkview 23.
Two plays later, Carson appeared to be hemmed in after taking the snap in the wildcat formation, but eluded a couple of tackles and broke free for a 73-yard touchdown to give Parkview a 7-0 lead with 6:25 left in the first quarter.
That play, along with others during Carson's 123-yard first half, had Brookwood concentrated hard on stopping him -- so much so that the Broncos forgot all about Marshall.
The junior quarterback made them pay with Parkview backed up on its own 6 midway through the second quarter.
Marshall faked a handoff and drew almost the entire Brookwood front seven to Carson, and kept the ball on a bootleg before outrunning the Broncos secondary for a 94-yard TD, pushing the Panthers' lead to 14-0 with 5:22 left in the first half.
"We figured they'd be all over Chris," Parkview coach Cecil Flowe said. "They've done the same thing to us (before) and had the same result. They just all sold the house on Chris, and Mackey just went out the back door."
Brookwood's offense was having just as frustrating a time throughout most of the first half, with an 80-yard touchdown run by Josh Brown nullified by a holding penalty and three other trips into Parkview territory thwarted by a penalty, a fumble and a sack.
But a 50-yard completion from Zach Moon to Ky Priester gave the Broncos another chance late in the half.
And on fourth and goal from the 1, Jamaal Cole was finally able to crash into the end zone for the score with 1:05 left in half, bringing Brookwood to within 14-7 heading into intermission.
After Carson's second touchdown of the game -- a 5-yard run that capped a seven-play, 74-yard drive to extend the Parkview lead to 21-7 with 3:38 left in the third quarter -- Brookwood looked like it was on the ropes, especially after the Panthers drove deep into Broncos territory as the fourth quarter began.
But the Broncos stripped Carson of the ball, and Shaun McGee pounced on the loose ball to give Brookwood possession on its own 11 with 11:21 remaining.
Moon then went to work, connecting on four passes for 65 yards on a five-play drive that ended when Moon hit Jamaal Cole with a 30-yard scoring strike to bring Brookwood to within 21-14 with still 9:35 left to play.
Moon finished the evening 13 of 19 for 264 yards with an interception, a touchdown, with four of those passes going to Priester for 103 yards and four more connecting with Cole for 88 yards.
The Broncos then got two more chances to get the game-tying score, but the first ended with a fumble on a mishandled snap that Kyle Williams recovered for Parkview with 7:30 left.
But Brookwood held and got another chance by taking over at its own 10 with 5:56 remaining.
The Broncos then move methodically down the field, with Cole turning a short pass from Moon on a crossing pattern into a 59-yard gain on a third-down play to move the ball to the Parkview 32.
Three plays later, it looked like Brookwood had gotten the equalizer when Josh Brown took a handoff on a counter play and scampered into the end zone with just over three minutes to play, but the score was nullified by a holding penalty -- the second Broncos score on the evening wiped out by an infraction.
"I guess we'll just have to learn to live with that," Crews said. "But I want to be positive. Our kids played hard. They hung in there the whole game."
Still, the Broncos had one last chance, but a Moon pass towards the end zone fell incomplete on fourth down, and Parkview took over at its own 23 with 2:42 left.
Carson then sealed Brookwood's fate by picking up two first downs, the latter a 14-yard run that ended with him sliding down in-bounds at the Parkview 44 to help the Panthers run out the clock.