Left to Right, Neil Brown, Todd Faulkner, Ryan Wood and Brad Lester meet as captains.
I spent the 1st half on the Parkview sideline, and I spent the second half on the Buford sideline. I've been to playoff games that didn't have a quarter of the atmosphere of this battle of champions. Both sets of coaching staffs worked the refs. Both coaches made gutsy calls on 4th down, and both coaches left their starters in for the duration of the game.
The game itself was in doubt until the final minutes of the 4th quarter. Neither team had been able to move the ball with consistency, and it was still only 3-0 in favor of Parkview in the last minutes of the 4th quarter when two consecutive plays sealed the game.
On third and six, Todd Faulkner rolled out for Parkview and threw what appeared to be a curl, but it was nearly intercepted for six the other direction. As the ball hit the ground, the Buford sideline erupted, knowing that they almost took the lead in monumental play. On 4th and 6 deep in Buford territory, rather than kicking another long field goal, Coach Cecil Flowe decided to roll the dice and put the ball back in the hands of Faulkner.
Faulkner once again rolled right, and he found Greg Sudderth this time for the first down, but the first down wasn't enough. Sudderth slipped through no less than five tackles to will his way into the endzone and effectively seal the game. The score was 10-0, and that is how the game ended.
#Parkview Ices the game with a Sudderth Touchdown (High Speed Connection Only)
After the game, there seemed to be a genuine feeling of good will on both sides. Sure, some of the Buford faithful thought that Parkview got some home-cooking in the Big Orange Jungle, but all in all, I think both programs will be
Darius Walker (Left) and Brad Lester exchanged pleasantries after the game.
"It was a lot of fun to get out here and play them," said Lester. "They're a real good team, and I hope they win the state title again."
Darius Walker was not quite as gracious, but still in very good spirits. "Man, I want to play them again in about five weeks," said Walker. "They weren't that much different than what we see in AA ball." Walker added with a laugh. Which brought another good natured ribbing from Lester.
All in all, it was a great night for high school football. If there are two things I took away from the game last night it's first, Parkview is vulnerable this year. Of their three state championships, last year's team was the most dominant. They will take a step backwards this year, but there was a huge gap between them and the rest of the state. Will the gap close enough? I think so. Parkview may win another state title, but I think they are vulnerable for a loss this season.
Second, Buford is just flat out loaded for AA ball and they would make a run at the championship on any level. Their line was actually bigger than Parkview's on both sides of the ball. It is going to take an upset of major proportions to keep them from getting a third straight state title.