Defense leads Panthers into 2013

Sonny Kennedy

Last season, Parkview made it to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2005. The Panthers’ overall record of 9-4 and region record of 6-2 last season gave them the No. 3 seed in Region 8-AAAAAA, behind Grayson and South Gwinnett. With 10 players returning, the experienced Panthers look to be a strong contender for a region and even state title in 2013.

“There’s no secret, it’s all about hard work,” head coach Cecil Flowe said.”You work hard throughout the offseason to try and shape your team, then you put pads on and play the game. Everything else just works itself out.”

Hard work seems to be the motto for the Panthers this season, and the Panthers have shown to have plenty of fight. In the 2012 playoffs they pulled out a 20-17 double overtime win at Walton, and then outlasted the potent West Forsyth Wolverines 26-23  in overtime the following week.

Last season did not  end the way the Panthers would have liked, but the season had plenty of successful moments. While opening region play, the Panthers beat the defending state champion Grayson Rams 22-7. In the quarterfinals, Colquitt County finally put an end to the run with a 31-15 win.

Parkview ended the season led by a very sound defense, that only allowed 15 points per game. Returning from the 2012 unit is linebacker John Patterson, who finished the 2012 season second on the team with 99 tackles, and cornerback Bryce Lewis. With more experience and knowledge coming into the 2013 season, these two players have stepped as leaders on this football team. Their speed and agility will also be a huge asset for the Panthers’ defense this season.

The offensive line is still one of the biggest strengths for this team. Returning are junior offensive lineman Trey Derouen and he will help pave the way for senior running back Justis Rosser.

The main priority for the coaching staff is finding the right player for the quarterback position.

“We have three guys competing for the job,” said Flowe. “And they’re three good ones, so we feel good about that area.”

The guys competing at quarterback are juniors Kalu Onumah, who has a strong throwing arm, and Estifanos Lulsegard, who could be played somewhere else as well. Sophomore Tyler Fleetwood is inexperienced, but possesses tremendous athleticism.

“We have the necessary ingredients to do what we have to do, which is to be competitive and in a position to win in the 4th quarter,” Flowe said. “It’s all about the kids having the willingness to work hard, understand, and communicate with one another.”

In order to be a front-runner in Region 8-AAAAAA, Flowe as well as the players are ready to make the changes needed in order to reach their goal of winning a state title.

“The improvements are you work on kind of where you left off last year and kind of work to get back in that mode of play,” Flowe added. “As a coach, you get shocked because the mode of play as you finish is what you want to start with, but it’s not always what you get. It depends on how much work you put in during the season.”

Parkview plays its first non-region game at Peachtree Ridge on Aug. 30. Their first region game will be played at Grayson on Sept. 13.


Class AAAAAA Preseason Top 10

1. Norcross

2. Colquitt County

3. North Gwinnett

4. McEachern

5. Lowndes

6. North Cobb

7. Mill Creek

8. Walton

9. Lovejoy

10. Peachtree Ridge


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