If West Forsyth is to make a second straight trip to the football state quarterfinals, it will need to beat a team that once made 11 consecutive appearances there.
The No. 8-ranked Wolverines host Parkview in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs at 7:30 p.m. tonight at The Den, one week after blowing out another storied Gwinnett County program, Collins Hill, 66-41 in the opening round.
Collins Hill head coach Kevin Reach believed West’s 66 points last week might have been the most ever scored against the Eagles in school history.
West, the No. 1 seed from Region 6, comes into tonight’s game ranked second in points per game (41.9) while Region 7 No. 3 seed Parkview (19.9) is last among the remaining teams in the Class 6A state playoffs.
Parkview’s greatest strength lies on defense, where the Panthers are allowing only 13.6 points per game this season. West has allowed 20.5.
Despite the gap in point differential, the Wolverines (10-1) are only a two-point favorite in the Maxwell Projections, and West head coach Frank Hepler said the Panthers (8-3) aren’t to be taken lightly.
"We haven’t found that weak spot on Parkview anywhere on the films that we have," Hepler said.
Parkview was a true dynasty at the turn of the century, when it won 46 consecutive games and three state titles from 2000-03 with the help of former Atlanta Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur. The Panthers advanced to the state quarterfinals or beyond every year from 1995-2005.
Parkview is enjoying a resurgent year in 2012 following three consecutive seasons with an overall record of .500 or below. The Panthers upset then No. 1-ranked Grayson 22-7 in Week 3 and won their first playoff game since 2005 last week in a 20-17 double overtime victory against Walton.
"They’re very big and very physical," Hepler said. "They’ve got kids who run well and they’re very well coached.
"You put those factors all together and it makes a pretty good defensive team. It’s going to be tough to move the ball and we’re trying to devise some ways to make that happen."
Parkview linebacker Kyle Williams and defensive back Shaq Vereen are both being recruited by Air Force, among several other schools. Panthers running back Chris Carson, a 1,000-yard rusher with an offer from Miami, missed last week’s game against Walton.
Regardless of whether Carson plays, the Panthers tend to focus their offensive attack on the ground, Hepler said.
"They’ve kind of gone with about four of five different types of running backs they have. They’ll run some wildcat offense and they’ll run some I-form offense, Hepler said.
"Their quarterbacks are steady. [Parkview head coach Cecil Flowe] runs a couple of different quarterback in the game depending on what they’re trying to do."
The Wolverines’ defense should get a boost from the return of starting cornerback Jacob Hill, who Hepler expects will be ready to play after missing each of the past two games due to injury.
This is the first time a second round state playoff game has ever been held on the West campus. The Wolverines have won 11 consecutive home games dating back to Oct. 29, 2010.
If the Wolverines win they will host either Colquitt County or Newnan in the state quarterfinals.