For most of the season the Parkview offense has scored points on the ground, using its two big running backs to pound the ball behind a talented offensive line. On Friday, out of necessity, the No. 10 Panthers went in the other direction.
Quarterback Colin Houck threw five touchdown passes – four of them to senior Jared Brown – and the Panthers outslugged Marietta 50-28 at the Big Orange Jungle in Lilburn.
Houck, a sophomore, completed 13 of 23 passes for 223 yards, including touchdowns of 41, 17, 10 and 15 to Brown and a 23-yarder to Zion Taylor. He confidence has grown exponentially since the early portion of the season.
“He looked a lot more confident and our receivers are taking more ownership, running better routes and being more disciplined and making plays,” Parkview coach Eric Godfree said. “Our receivers have helped boost his confidence.”
Brown, who has committed to Coastal Carolina as a cornerback, even scored one touchdown that caromed off a defender and into his arms as he stepped into the end zone.
“We thought we’d have to pass more,” Brown said. “We saw the matchups and they played a lot of man, which we like."
Parkview (3-1) switched its strategy to an air attack after Marietta loaded the box in an effort to slow the Panthers on the ground. It worked for a big, but eventually Cody Brown (21 carries for 103 yards) and Tyler Curtis (nine carries for 124 yards and touchdown runs of 43 and two yards) were able to take control.
“(Marietta) did a good job,” Godfree said “They packed the box early and forced us to throw. Colin had a great night and our receivers had a great night and it opened things up for the running game.”
Parkview had difficulty slowing Marietta quarterback Tyler Hughes. The junior completed 18 of 33 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns and rushed 24 times for 123 yards. He threw touchdowns of 77 and 22 yards to Zuri Johnson and a 42-yarder to Daniel Martin.
“We didn’t do a good job on their quarterback and they big-played us a few times,” Godfree said.
Johnson caught five passes for 130 yards before he was injured midway in the third quarter. Johnson collided with a defender after a first-down reception and was inadvertently dragged down by the facemask. Officials called for an ambulance and Johnson was high-fiving his teammates as he was being taken off the field.
The win was also a measure of revenge for Parkview, which lost to Marietta 42-31 in the Class 7A semifinal game a year ago. The Blue Devils won the state title a week later.
“It was an all-week theme and our kids knew it and was motivated and ready to play and have some redemption,” Godfree said.
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