LILBURN — The execution was far from flawless.
The turnovers that plagued Parkview's football team a week ago in the second half of its loss to North Gwinnett persisted against Loganville on Friday night. The Panthers coughed the ball up three times, applying pressure to an overworked defensive unit.
But despite their struggles, they ultimately overcame the mishaps and bounced back into the win column with a 26-3 victory over the Red Devils at Karl Bostick Field.
“That’s what we love about our kids. They are going to have great effort and fight at all times,” Parkview head coach Eric Godfree said. “We still continue to make way too many youthful mistakes. But still, even when it doesn’t go your way, you’re still fighting and it gives yourself a chance to win.”
The drive that put the game away came on the Panthers’ second possession of the third quarter.
Leading 13-3, the Panthers blocked a Loganville field goal attempt to take over on their own 25. They proceeded to utilize the no-huddle offense and deep-gashing runs as sophomore running back Jordan McCoy reeled off yardage gains of 3, 21, 10 and 10, respectively. The blitzkrieg attack was capped off with a 22-yard strike from junior quarterback Colin Houck to sophomore receiver Mike Matthews.
Parkview used little more than two minutes of game clock to travel 75 yards downfield and score. So, what allowed the offense to have the success it did on the drive?
“Uh, we didn’t turn it over,” Godfree answered with a laugh.
“We definitely turned it over way too many times and shot ourselves in the foot [Friday,]” he added. “We didn’t execute. Credit to Loganville: when we messed up, they capitalized and took advantage of it.”
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Panthers repaid the favor.
Starting on its own 25 after a turnover on downs, Parkview was guided down the field on the back of three Loganville penalties. The Red Devils were flagged for a facemask, jumping offsides and a late hit out of bounds on consecutive plays to set the Panthers up on the Loganville 30.
Two plays later, Houck once again delivered a dart to Matthews — this time the connection went 23 yards — to seal the 23-point victory.
Friday night’s win carried extra weight for Godfree, who spent 10 seasons as head coach of the Red Devils from 2004-13. He improved to 2-0 all-time against his former squad.
“It is special just because I still know so many in the Loganville community. What a great community it is,” Godfree said.
Parkview’s first play from scrimmage resulted in an interception. Three downs later, a fumble on a Loganville toss sweep gave the Panthers the ball back on the the Red Devil 22. They went on to find the end zone on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Houck to junior Zion Taylor.
Loganville answered with a 45-yard field goal, trimming its deficit to 6-3.
The score would remain unchanged until the 9:44 mark in the second quarter, when sophomore Khyair Spain took a handoff and evaded a pair of would-be tacklers on his way to a 16-yard rushing touchdown.