Parkview-Brookwood Rivalry Lives On
When the neighboring schools get together in sports, it's about community, competition and bragging rights.
It was Parkview vs. Brookwood and everyone knew there'd be a big crowd.
But the crowd that attended Saturday's Class AAAAA baseball championship games at Parkview High School was something even more special.
More than an hour before the double-header — won by Parkview 5-2 and 6-3 for its second straight state title and fifth overall — cars were already having to park on the other side of campus.
Robert Hill, the offensive coordinator for Parkview's football team and baseball traffic cop on Saturday, was turning away cars headed for the usual baseball parking spaces. It was 2:50 p.m.; the double-header started at 4.
"You should see it up there (at Hugh Buchanan Stadium, located on the back side of the campus)," Hill said, "It's filled up already. This is insane."
It was standing-room-only for the double-header with fans filling nearly every nook and cranny available.
Funny thing, this rivalry.
The schools, located just six miles apart, have played big games before, even in state championships. But this was the first time they sqared off for a baseball title.
This rivalry is about more than proximity. Is it to "one up?"
"No it's not that at all," said John Green. "There are a lot of prospects and college scouts for both teams. When you get down to the nitty gritty it's just they both want to win. When it's all over they are shaking hands and it's who walks off with the trophy that is happy. They go to church together and stuff like that.
"It's just winning and bragging rights."
Of course, there's athletic history.
Brookwood High, which opened in 1981, five years after Parkvew, actually used Parkview's facility in football in the late 80's. In 1989, the Broncos made the state finals with Parkview's stadium as its home field.
In 2002, the two met in the AAAAA state football championship with the Panthers taking the title home for their 45th straight victory. The schools also have shared state titles in both boys and girls soccer. Combined, the schools have won or shared 94 state championships and many, many more region titles.
"These kids grew up knowing each other and competing in the Gwinnett Football League, going to church, little league," said Chris Wagner, a Parkview Panther parent. "These kids are high-fiving each other and they eat out together."
Students came out in force Saturday, holding signs and cheering loudly. There also was a little bit of trash talking, but it was all in good fun.
"The Brookwood kids got here two hours before the game and are doing their thing. It doesn't matter what the sport, it's just a big rivalry," said former Panther football star Willis Sudderth.
Sudderth graduated in 2001 and the next year the two teams met for the state title. "We played two overtime games when I played and then the year after I graduated we played them for the title. This is eqivalent to Lowndes County and Valdosta. It's a college atmosphere. It doesn't get any better."
Another Parkview fan, Matt Henson, added that having Brookwood as the Panthers' finals opponent was the best way to end the season.
"It's not a bitter rivalry like Georgia-Florida. We have mutual respect," Henson said.
One Brookwood fan, Aaron Borders, brought his 6-year-old daughter to the game. "I just wanted to show her what it's like for the two communities," said Borders, who was a Berkmar grad but moved to the Brookwood district. "It's a great rivalry and that's why I wanted to be a part of it."
"Everybody is cordial. They're friends but when the game starts they get rowdy," Sudderth said.
"My 10-year old already has it in his mind as his travel ball team is playing Brookwood," Wagner said.
But for baseball this year, the Panthers will hold the bragging rights.