LILBURN — Following a legend is never easy. For Parkview head coach Eric Godfree, his succession of Cecil Flowe hit its first major milestone Friday night as his Panthers beat Central Gwinnett 38-14 and notched his 100th career coaching victory, 47 of which have come at his alma mater.
The final score didn't indicate it, but from the first whistle, the issue was never in doubt as the Panthers controlled both lines of scrimmage through most of the game.
"All the credit goes to our defensive coordinator (John Rolador) and the game plan he came up with," Godfree said. "To be able to hold their offense like that was amazing."
While the Black Knights (3-7 overall, 3-3 Region 7-AAAAAAA) were able to muster 310 total yards, 173 of those yards came on their final three drives when the game was already decided.
Parkview's defense opened the game in a big way as recent Navy-commit Tony Ward intercepted Skylar Adams to give the ball to the Panthers on the Central 31. Two plays later, Tyler Curtis burst through the middle for 21 yards for an early 7-0 lead.
A short punt by Central on its next drive gave the ball right back to the Panthers with Curtis only needing one play this time to score, going 44 yards for a 14-0 lead with 9:48 to go in the first quarter.
Later in the first quarter, the Panthers' defense got on the scoreboard as Kobe Wilson intercepted an Adams pass and rumbled 47 yards for the touchdown.
Central did make some headway on it's next drive, but a 19-yard sack by Parkview's Mason Huntley put the Black Knights behind the chains and forced them to turn the ball over on downs.
Parkview's offense took over on their own 34. A 26-yard completion from quarterback Jordan Williams to Curtis move the ball into Central territory. Later, on a fourth-and-6, Williams found Bryce Fleetwood for 19 yards to move the ball into the red zone. Three plays later, Curtis went through the middle for his third rushing touchdown on the night.
Parkview (9-1, 6-0) added a Nolan McCord 23-yard field goal with 4:52 to go before halftime after the drive stalled out on the Central 6.
The first half ended with the Panthers leading 31-0 and a running clock was set for the second half.
The second half saw the Panthers sprint out of the gate again. This time it was Jasir Smith who went through the middle for a 43-yard score to give the Panthers a 38-0 lead less than a minute into the third quarter.
"Our offensive line has been getting better and better each week," Godfree said. "We have a lot of great running backs, but those guys do a ton of work for our backs."
Central finally got on the scoreboard late in the third quarter, going 88 yards in 12 plays. The big play on the drive came when Adams found Daejon Reynolds for 44 yards down to the Parkview 26. A 10-yard pass to Justin Wilkins put the ball in the red zone. On fourth down, Adams found Wilkins again, this time from 20-yards out to make the score 38-7 with 3:28 to go in the third quarter.
Central's defense got involved in the turnover game as well as Eldrick Johnson recovered a fumble to give the ball back to the Black Knights.
And just like they had done on their previous drive, the Black Knights marched down the field to score again, this time a three-yard run by Wilkins to bring the game to its final score, 38-14.
Adams finished the game going 20-for-36 for 230 yards, while Reynolds had 11 catches for 116 yards. Wilkins also finished the game with 134 total yards and two touchdowns.
Parkview was led by Curtis with 11 carries for 156 yards and three touchdowns, while Fleetwood had three catches for 41 yards.
For Godfree, celebrating his 100th win as a head coach is special, especially considering he accomplished it on the field he played his high school ball on. But he also knows that 100 wins doesn't happen without the support of his wife, Jenell, and his kids, Jordan, Brooke and Jacob.
"I married an athlete and she understands the grind," Godfree said. "I'm so blessed to have a family that allows me to do this. They're the ones that make all of this possible."
Central 0 0 7 7 - 14
Parkview 21 10 7 0 - 38
Parkview: Tyler Curtis 21 run (Nolan McCord kick) 10:58
Parkview: Curtis 44 run (McCord kick) 9:48
Parkview: Kobe Wilson 47 interception return (McCord kick) 5:24
Parkview: Curtis 5 run (McCord kick) 11:47
Parkview: McCord 23 field goal 4:52
Parkview: Jasir Smith 43 run (McCord kick) 11:23
Central: Justin Wilkins 20 pass from Skyler Adams (Gabe Ivastain kick) 3:28
Central: Wilkins 3 run (Ivastain kick) 5:58