GOW Gameday Preview – Newton vs Parkview
This week’s VNN-GA Game of the Week is the start of region play as the Newton Rams go on the road to take on the Parkview Panthers at The Big Orange Jungle, tonight at 7:30pm. Tickets available online – https://gofan.co/app/events/89015, Watch online – https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/parkview-high-school-lilburn-ga/gam3cb0811a28 & Live Score Feed – https://parkviewhighathletics.com/panthers-live-scores-fall-2020/.
Newton is led by second year Coach Camiel Grant Jr. The Rams are 2-2 entering region play and looking to get back in the win column tonight after a tough loss to Houston County last week. The Rams will need their defense to continue their tough play and hope the offense can regain some confidence found during early season success to start region play with a road victory.
The Panthers are led by Head Coach Eric Godfree who is entering his 7th year as the Parkview head man. Parkview ended non region play with a 3 game winning streak with a gutsy victory over Tucker last week. Continued strong play from both sides of the ball and the home field edge will be needed to start region 4-7A play 1-0.
I recently had a Q&A with both coaches discussing the season to date & tonight’s game.
What is your biggest area of concern(s) as you head into region play?
Coach Grant – “My biggest concern is the same as it has been each week since we restarted. I pray that each week our team and the opposing team are healthy and COVID free before and after the contest. From a football point of view I wouldn’t use the word concern, I would say that we want our kids to be aware of the opportunities that are in front of them and play with passion and focus.”
Coach Godfree – “Each player doing their job and not trying to do others job and in turn failing at their own job.”
What has been your team’s strengths that have come to light during your non-region games?
Coach Grant – “Our defense for sure is our rock at this point. Especially since we have several new pieces on the defense and we are pleased with how well those new kids are playing.”
Coach Godfree – “Our teams speed and physical play. We have had explosive plays on both sides of the ball.”
Has anyone or anything stood out as the most surprising or unexpected positive during the fist part of the season?
Coach Grant – ” I wouldn’t say that we are surprised because our expectations are very high for our kids. There are kids that we are excited about how quickly they have become consistent contributors. A few kids that come to mind are Audavion Collins & Brandon Smith in the secondary, Jehden Robinson at RB/LB & Jevarra Martin at QB.”
Coach Godfree – ” Our sophomore QB is coming a long real well having thrown for over 500 yards and 7 TD’s in the last two games.”
Any thoughts on how COVID as impacted the season to date – good or bad or in general?
Coach Grant – “Even though we are progressing through the season I still believe the response to and handling of COVID has been poor. There is no consistency from district to district on how positive cases are handled, GHSA won’t institute any firm policies and the screening procedures are minimalistic at best. I have a hard time understanding how the NFL & NCAA believe that regular testing is needed but for our youth we ignore that. My fear is that with playoffs coming soon and no consistent policies in place you are encouraging dishonesty when in comes to how teams will handle COVID. That puts kids, coaches, families and communities at risk.”
Coach Godfree – ” Good- we all know how much we love the game of football when it’s about taken from you. Bad- missing out on all the summer padded camps, 7on7 etc. Basically, missing out on a lot of reps and skill development.”
Any final thoughts on the game, the season? or anything you would like added to the article?
Coach Grant – ” I am looking forward to the game because it is another opportunity to watch our kids work together for a common goal. In our region we have some of the best teams in the state and as a coach or player you always want to compete against the best. I’m excited for us to go out and show why we belong among the best in the state of GA.”
Coach Godfree – ” We’re excited to start region play, but we are not peaking yet. We still have a lot of improving to do. Hoping we can have a good start to region and not get behind.”
Thanks to both coaches for their time & input. Looks to be an awesome game, wishing both teams well in tonight’s match up!