Parkview's game plan for success against Archer in Friday's semifinal looked very similar to the one that worked so well in the second-round win over Colquitt County. Pressure the opposing quarterback and pound the ball until someone breaks a big run. Then do it again.
The result was a 35-17 win for No. 7 Parkview (12-1) over No. 8 Archer (9-4) and included a measure of revenge over the team that ousted the Panthers a year ago. Parkview advances to host Marietta in the Final Four and reached the semifinals for the first time since 2004.
"We had a good game plan and our kids executed," Parkview coach Eric Godfree said. "It doesn't really matter what the coaches plan, but the players have to execute."
Similar to last week's assault on Colquitt County, the Parkview unleashed a sack-fest on Archer quarterback Carter Peevy, who was sacked seven times – six in the first half when the Panthers were racing to a 21-3 lead – and fumbled twice.
"Their quarterback is special, not just with his arm, but with his feet, too, and we knew we had to take care of him," Godfree said.
Peevy completed 12 of 19 passes for 172 yards, but was intercepted twice, once by Charlie Ashby and once by Derrick Brown.
"We just told ourselves to come out with the same fire and the same way we came out last week," linebacker Tony Ward said. "We had to keep that up and stay on our grind. The leaders on defense said if we lead, everybody is going to follow if you bring all the energy. That's what we did. We had sacks, we had turnovers, we had everything we needed to get the win."
The Parkview offense stuck with its plan, too. Quarterback Jordan Williams played another consistent game (10-for-15 with one meaningless interception on the last play of the first half) for 111 yards. The Panthers were content to ride sturdy running backs Cody Brown (19 carries for 164 yards and two touchdowns) and Tyler Curtis (11 carries for 155 yards and two touchdowns) until one could break a big run.
"We kept saying one of them is going to slip through … and boom," Godfree said.
Brown had touchdown runs of 20 and 70 yards and another 46-yard carry. Curtis had touchdown runs of 56 and 65 yards.
"Credit the offensive line," Brown said. "That last one you could have drove a truck through."
Parkview jumped out to a 21-3 halftime lead thanks to its relentless defense and some big runs on offense.
The Panthers scored first after Torren Coppage stripped Peevy of the ball and Terian Williams recovered. Five plays later Brown scored when he appeared to be stopped at the line, only to break through for a 20-yard touchdown.
Archer responded with its best drive of the half, reaching the Parkview 24 before surrendering a sack and settling for 39-yard Jacob Waters field goal.
Two possessions later, another Parkview sack – this one from Mason Huntley and Ward – forced an Archer punt. The Panthers scored five plays later when Tyler Curtis powered through the line for 56-yard touchdown.
The Panthers scored again with 2:02 left in the half after taking over at the Archer 39 after a punt. The key play was a 34-yard pass from Williams to Bryce Fleetwood that pushed the ball to the 5. The Panthers scored three plays later when Brown walked in from the 1.
Archer had a chance to change the momentum midway in the third quarter when C.J. Daniels fumbled trying to stretch for a first game at the end of a reception. Archer's Caleb Wooden recovered at the 30, but the Tigers turned it over on downs when Ward tackled Jordan Swain for a loss on fourth down.
Archer cut the margin to 21-10 after Parkview came up short on a fourth-and-2 gamble and missed on a pass in the end zone. The Tigers drove for a score and punched it in on an odd play when Peevy was hit at the goal line and fumbled into the hands of teammate Andrew Dyer for a touchdown.
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