LAWRENCEVILLE — Parkview didn’t need long to warm up.
It took the Panthers just two plays to find the end zone in Friday night’s road contest against Mountain View. But when lightning in the area caused the game to be suspended at the 7:10 mark in the opening quarter — and then keep both football teams in limbo for over an hour — doubt crept into the mind of head coach Eric Godfree.
“Honestly I was worried about, OK, we’ve got some momentum, how are going to take this inexperienced team and come back?” he admitted.
Godfree’s players quickly put his mind at ease.
The 70-minute delay had minimal lasting effects on the Panthers (1-1), who put together enough offense to outlast the Bears (1-1) in a 37-24 triumph.
Parkview’s offense struggled to establish a rhythm in its season-opening loss to Mill Creek in the Corky Kell Classic. On the road against Mountain View, the Panthers allowed big plays to key the offense while appearing to build consistency through lengthy drives.
“We saw a lot of improvements (Friday), and that’s our goal. We want to improve every single week,” Godfree said “You take a team like ours, with not much experience, and we expect to see a lot of improvements. Our coaches are going to demand it and our kids, they want to get better and they continue to get better.”
Clinging to a 20-17 lead at the break, Parkview’s special teams positioned the offense for success as Zion Taylor returned the second half kickoff down to the Bears’ 23-yard line. The offense stalled out, but a 40-yard field goal from junior Carlos Munoz pushed the advantage out to 23-17.
Three drives later, the Panthers’ lead grew to double figures when junior quarterback Colin Houck called his own number on a 10-yard rushing touchdown. Parkview led it 30-17 with 1:04 to go in the third quarter.
Mountain View, which failed to record a first down in the second half of its season-opening victory over Shiloh, leaned on its offense to stay in the game against the Panthers.
The Bears began a drive on their own 10 early in the fourth quarter. Junior quarterback Mason Kidd dissected the defense through dink-and-dunk throws, working the ball down the field before finding senior Sean Reese on an 8-yard strike to make it 30-24 at the 5:15 mark.
Mountain View managed to keep the Panther offense in check through much of the fourth quarter. But, the dam eventually broke. Less than two minutes after Kidd’s score pulled the Bears within six, Houck hit Taylor in stride for a 52-yard connection that put the game permanently out of reach.
“We stalled out a few times in the second half, but we definitely improved on the (offensive) side of the ball,” Mountain View head coach John Poitevint said. “Our special teams and defensively, though, we’ve got to improve.”
The Panthers were gifted possession on the second play from scrimmage after the Bears fumbled the ball away on the first run of the night. On the ensuing play, Houck threw a dart at Taylor, who took it in for the 26-yard score.
Mountain View answered, driving down the field and nailing a 40-yard field goal in the waning seconds before the lightning delay.
Parkview found the end zone twice more in the first half. The second score of the game came on a 73-yard rushing touchdown up the heart of the field from sophomore Jordan McCoy. The third was produced from yet another gift, this time in the form of a muffed punt that kept a Panther drive alive early so Houck could toss a touchdown pass to sophomore Jayln Crawford.
“We made a lot of mistakes in that first half, especially defensively. We’ve got a young team, but that’s not an excuse,” Poitevint said. “When you play a good team like Parkview they’ll make you pay.”