A potent and powerful Parkview offense was just too much for Johns Creek to handle as the Panthers opened the season with a 52-7 victory over the Gladiators in the second game of the Corky Kell Classic Wednesday.
“We brought back a lot of experience from last year’s team,” said Parkview head coach Eric Godfree. “So these guys have had a full year of experience playing football together and that in itself helps.”
The Panthers passed for four touchdowns and rushed for three in the romp and 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior quarterback Colin Houck led the way passing for three touchdowns and rushing for one.
However Houck, rated a three-star recruit by 247Sports, appeared to suffer a lower leg injury later in the game and hobbled off the field.
“He twisted his ankle,” he said. “He walked off and was fine so he is going to be ok.”
Houck, who was 13-of-18 passing for 194 yards, passed to Mike Matthews for touchdowns of 17 and 11 yards and to Antonio White on a 35-yard touchdown pass.
“Colin being a third-year starter and all of our receivers getting back,” Godfree said. “That experience helps a lot.”
The Panthers also got touchdown runs from Khyair Spain (39, 4 yards) and Houck (8 yards). Backup quarterback Makhi Moore came in in the third quarter and passed to Carson Wilson with :28 seconds left to give the Panthers a 49-7 lead as the clock ran down. Kicker Tre Barker made a 30-yard field goal with three minutes left in the game, extending the lead.
On defense, Parkview was stifling and held Johns Creek to 169 yards of total offense, 84 rushing and 85 passing, with just nine first downs.
“I am very proud of the defense,” Godfree said. “They lined up correctly and then flew the ball and had great energy and were very physical. Again, we have a lot of guys back from last year and starters back and they’re more comfortable so they are playing a lot faster.”
The difference in this Parkview team versus last season’s edition is a constant search for balance and on Wednesday at Johns Creek, the Panthers found a decent mix on the offensive side while pitching a near no-hitter on defense.
“We want to be very balanced,” Godfree said. “And last year we just could not do it. We were just not good at the run game and had a very young offensive line. But when you bring four or five starters back, that’s a big part of the offensive line and being able to run the ball.”
Parkview rushed for 283 yards and passed for 229 in the victory.
Matthews finished the game with six receptions for 111 yards and two touchdowns and one interception on defense. White made two receptions for 41 yards and one touchdown and WIlson had one reception for the 35-yard touchdown.
Nolan Marshall led Parkview on defense with five solo and three assisted tackles with 1.5 tackles for a loss. Jay Crawford and Zelus Hicks each made one interception. John Creek quarterback Michael McClellan was 5-of-15 passing for 85 yards and one touchdown with three interceptions.
Kell 38, Cherokee Bluff 23
Bobby May has as many wins as he does games coached at Kell after the Longhorns defeated Cherokee Bluff 38-23 in the opening game of the Corky Kell Classic at Johns Creek.
“It feels pretty good,” May told Score Atlanta’s Najeh Wilkins after the game. “It’s always nice to win the first one. We were a little bit sloppy at times, but we will take the win when we can get it.”
The Longhorns set the tone early and forced a fumble with 7:56 left in the first quarter which was recovered by Sawain Simmons and returned 54 yards for a touchdown. After a 35-yard field goal from Cherokee Bluff kicker Michael Arbour, Kell quarterback Bryce Clavon passed to TJ Murray for an 8-yard touchdown.
Clavon, who finished the game 14-of-24 passing for 263 yards and three touchdowns, then connected with Peyton Zachary for a 26-yard touchdown to give Kell a 20-3 lead.
“Bryce is just an elite athlete,” May said. “He is a special player. He is an elite quarterback. So we are glad he is with us. We were a little bit rusty, but hopefully we can polish things up.”
Cherokee Bluff capped a 12-play, 56-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run from Asher Wilson to cut into the 20-10 lead with 2:10 left in the first half. But Kell responded with a 6-play, 69-yard drive and a 10-yard touchdown run from Clavon to make it a 26-10 game and give the Longhorns momentum entering the second half.
“Our defense played tough,” May said of his defense responding to Cherokee Bluff’s offense coming alive in the latter part of the game. “They are physical up front and our defense had to withstand it and it was hot so they played tough. We didn’t give up a bunch of big plays so we are happy with that.”
Kell took a 32-10 lead on a 60-yard pass from Clavon to Jaden George which capped a 3-play, 75-yard drive and put the game out of reach. The Bears scored on a 1-yard dive from Wilson with :24 seconds left in the third quarter, but Kell responded with a 4-yard touchdown run from Ryan Barrett with :48 left in the game to take the 38-16 lead.
“We have some talented players,” May said. “And if we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot with penalties and things like that, it will allow them to play in space. Usually when you get good players playing in open space, good things happen.”
Cherokee Bluff scored on a 68-yard pass from Wilson to Jhace Justice with :30 left in the game but it was for not.
Zachary finished with seven receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown. Elijah Washington led Kell on the ground with 10 carries for 66 yards. Clavon had eight carries for 71 yards and one touchdown.
Wilson was 13-of-23 passing for 142 yards and one touchdown while rushing eight times for 32 yards and two touchdowns for Cherokee Bluff.
“We are going to clean out this game and we are going to focus on Allatoona next week,” May said. “And we won’t really look much past that.”
May took over the Kell program this year after three seasons at Westlake where he led the Lions to the semifinals in 2020 and the quarterfinals last season.