It’s just the third week of the season, but fifth-ranked Parkview football will get a playoff preview Friday as it travels to Valdosta to take on fourth-ranked Lowndes.
The Vikings won a thriller 35-34 in Lilburn last season. The only other meeting between the two schools came in the 2004 state championship, where Lowndes won 17-14.
Both teams are off to stellar 2-0 starts this season. Parkview outscored Peachtree Ridge and Shiloh 119-13, while Lowndes has defeated Valdosta and International School (Broward, Fla.) 101-0. The Vikings opened the season with a 45-0 win over rival Valdosta, the reigning Class AAAAAA state champions.
“Offensively they’re as good and dynamic as anybody in the state,” Parkview head coach Eric Godfree said. “So that will be a good challenge for us in itself. Defensively, they haven’t even been scored on yet and of course they played Valdosta, who’s a good football team, too.”
Valdosta’s offense is led by senior Michael Barrett, who threw for 322 yards and three touchdowns in last year’s meeting. Senior receiver Tayvonn Kyle is a deep threat at 6-foot-1, 165 pounds, who also has returned an interception for a score in both games.
Running backs J.D. Lee and Travis Tisdale form a solid duo in the backfield.
“We have to tackle well. They’ve got some dynamic players — their quarterback, their running back, they’re just all very good, very dynamic players,” Godfree said. “So they pose big problems. The biggest thing is we’ve got to run to the ball and tackle. If they break tackles, we’re going to have a hard time with them all night. We had no pass rush last year and that is something we’ve got to do a better job of this year. They physically beat us up front last year, but we’re a lot better up front than we were last year. We’re a whole lot better.”
Parkview’s defense allowed 13 points to Peachtree Ridge in the first quarter of the season opener, but hasn’t allowed a single point since. Ben Markiewicz led the way in last week’s shutout of Shiloh with 4 1/2 tackles and a sack.
Lowndes’ defense has been on a roll of its own with two shutouts to start the season. The Vikings have forced seven turnovers, with five pick-sixes and a fumble recovery for a touchdown in those wins.
Parkview will present the Vikings with their strongest test to date. Quarterback Fred Payton has settled in well as the leader of the offense.
Indiana commit Miles Marshall had seven catches for 60 yards and a TD last week. Junior Malik Washington continues to do it all, scoring a rushing and receiving touchdown last week.
Demetrius West and Tommy Rogers have done a good job carrying the load at running back while Christian Malloy is out with an injury. Last week, the Panthers’ offensive line graded out higher than it ever has as a unit during Godfree’s tenure.
The trip to South Georgia will be a playoff preview for Parkview off the field as well. The lengthy bus ride could be replicated in the postseason for the Panthers.
“That’s one of the big reasons we did it, too,” Godfree said. “Because there’s going to come a time in the playoffs where we’re going to be matched up with a team like Lowndes and possibly have to travel and go down there. Just trying to get that experience.”