Parkview’s final play in Friday’s 26-23 win over West Forsyth in the second round of the Class AAAAAA football playoffs didn’t go exactly the way it was drawn up.
That may be a bit picky, considering it resulted in the game-winning touchdown.
“Honestly, I was supposed to hand it off to Shaq [Vereen],” said Justis Rosser, who ran virtually untouched around the left end for a 15-yard TD on Parkview’s first play of the overtime. “I fumbled the snap. It was supposed to go to Shaq, but then we just played it out.”
As they say, all’s well that ends well.
Rosser’s run not only helped Parkview beat a very talented West Forsyth team, it propelled the Panthers (9-3) back into the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2005. The four-time state champions will play in their 12th final eight in school history when they host Colquitt County next Friday.
West Forsyth, which led by 10 points in the second quarter in front of its home fans, finished the season 10-2.
The Wolverines led 17-7 with 6:44 left in the second quarter after scoring 17 straight points, including 3-yard runs by Momo Camara and A.J. Erdely. The Panthers had taken a 7-0 lead on a 37-yard TD pass from Rob Youngblood to Mac Marshall on their first possession of the game. Parkview made it 17-13 on Vereen’s 2-yard run just before half (the PAT kick was blocked).
The game turned in the third quarter as the Parkview defense had more success stopping West Forsyth’s no-huddle, multi-directional offensive show.
The Wolverines scored more than 60 points in three games this season, including 66 in a playoff win over Collins Hill last week. But Parkview was able to get to quarterback Erdely (11 of 18, 134 yards) and lessen the impact of do-everything back Jake Wieczorek.
“They fight,” Parkview coach Cecil Flowe said of his hard-working bunch. “That’s what I ask them to do. Just fight. Nobody’s giving us a chance [to win] and our kids just keep playing hard. …
“We stopped a great quarterback. Frank’s [Hepler, West Forsyth’s coach] got a really great football team.”
West Forsyth managed only a 25-yard field goal by Timmy Hartshorn in the second half.
Vereen scored from the 5 early in the fourth to tie the game at 20-20, which held out until overtime.
A 16-yard sack by Parkview pushed West Forsyth back to open the overtime. Still, Hartshorn, who had three field goals, nailed a 46-yarder to give the Wolverines a 23-20 lead to set up Rosser’s game-winner.
“[Rosser] is a winner,” Flowe said. “I’m telling you, he loves to win. He plays his butt off, too.”
It was the second straight week Rosser won it in overtime for Parkview. His 15-yarder on the first play of the second OT, lifted the Panthers to a 20-17 win at Walton.
“I really love winning for my team,” said Rosser, a junior who has helped Parkview pick up the slack with the season-ending injury of star running back Chris Carson. “But it’s a team effort. We came out and did it and we get to play another week.”
Rosser finished with 32 yards on nine carries. Vereen had 44 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, and Brandon Sullivan had 32 yards on three rushes. Youngblood completed 7 of 11 passes for 106. Mac Marshall had three catches for 81 yards and a TD.
Blake Dunham Injured
The game was delayed for about 30 minutes midway through the fourth quarter when Parkview center Blake Dunham was injured and had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance.
A quiet stadium watched as Dunham remained motionless for several uncomfortable minutes while paramedics immobilized his body before taking him away. Fortunately, he seems OK. Dunham was blocking when he landed on his head with 7:10 left in the game and the score tied 20-20.
Dunham was able to move his arms and legs and communicate, according to coach Cecil Flowe. "I think Blake is OK," Flowe told his players after the game.
“I think it was more of a precaution,” Flowe said afterward. “He was taking his tape off in the ambulance, so he had movement in his extremities.”
Flowe even received a text message from Dunham: “Blake texted me and said ‘win’ … and you’re going to have to sew up my jersey.”