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Westlake Tops Parkview On Game Winning Field Goal, Advances To GHSA 7A Quarterfinals

Westlake defenders take down Parkview running back Khyair Spain in 30-28 win

From the opening play of the game, the Westlake Lions and Parkview Panthers gave fans an exciting night of high school football in the their Georgia High School Association Class 7A state championship tournament second round matchup. The Lions would strike first on the first play of the game as quarterback RJ Johnson would connect with Jaden Thomas for an 80 yard touchdown pass as the Lions would take a 7-0 lead.

Parkview would fall to answer on the ensuing possession and after being forced to punt the ball back to Westlake, it would be the Panthers’ defense that would get things going as Jayden Crawford would intercept a Johnson pass and return it for a touchdown as Parkview would tie the game 7-7. Johnson would shake off the turnover and lead the Lions down into Panthers’ territory and cap the drive with his second touchdown pass of the night as he connected with Avieon Terrell as Westlake would go up 14-7.

The Panthers would then catch a break on the ensuing possession as they were forced to punt the ball back to Westlake, but Terrell would not be able to control the catch and the Panthers would recover and take over inside the five yard line. With great field, the Panthers would capitalize with a Khyair Spain rushing touchdown, tying the game at 14-14. With Westlake unable to respond, Parkview would later get into the end zone as quarterback Colin Houck would connect with Mike Matthews for a touchdown pass and the Panthers would take their first lead of the night, going up 21-14.

The two teams would continue to trade score for score in the second half as Westlake would come out on the opening drive of the half and after using almost half the third quarter, would regain the lead after Thomas would score for a second time, this time a rushing touchdown. The Lions would fail on the extra point attempt, but would take a 27-21 lead. With time expiring in the third quarter, Parkview would answer back in the fourth quarter with a Donovan Paris rushing touchdown and go back on top 28-27.

As the final quarter of play continued, the Lions would find themselves still trailing by one point with about 1:30 to go in the game when they would regain possession and that would prove to be enough time as they would get a game winning field goal from kicker Omar Camara with :25 second s to go in the game. “That field goal came through in the end for us,” Westlake head coach Rico Zackery said after their win on Friday night adding that the Lions “work that situation every Wednesday and Thursday”.

When asked about the resiliency of his players throughout Friday night’s game, Zackery admitted that his team “had to overcome a lot of adversity” as they battled Parkview down to the final seconds of the game. “You build that toughness during the offseason and in everything that you do every day, and they just kept responding,” Zackery said of his players and how he and his staff have been consistent in teaching their players that lesson. The lesson that now has the Lions moving on to the GHSA 7A quarter finals where they will travel to Mill Creek next week. “They just came out and really responded to every situation right there, that’s big time,” Zackery said.


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