By: Sean Brink
Ever since the beginning for Mill Creek in 2006, Coach Shannon Jarvis said in order for a rivalry to begin each team had to have a victory. Well after eleven years and a 7-4 Mill Creek lead in the series the teams have billed this as a hometown rivalry. So much so that the Dacula fans went out and had t-shirts made for this year, calling it the “Hometown Rivalry 2017.”
Mill Creek had won the previous two years by a 64-7 score. This year was suppose to be different as Dacula was hoping to snap the two-year losing streak to the Hawks. But it wasn’t to be. The Hawks got a Jacob Allen interception and turned it into a 47-yard field by Matt Campbell and went on to a 20-7 victory Friday night in Dacula. It marked the third consecutive victory and if not for a late touchdown Mill Creek was working on nine quarters without giving up a point to the Falcons over the last three games. Mill Creek has won the last three games by a 84-14 score.
Allen picked off Dacula quarterback Shayne Buckingham but the Hawks drive stalled and with 7:39 left Campbell connected for his long field goal to give Mill Creek a 3-0 lead.
Dacula got things going and early in the second period Ronald Utreras missed a short field goal. The Hawks went on a drive but again stalled and had to settle for a Campbell 36-yard field goal with 3:26 left in the half.
Jonathon Gipson recovered a Dacula fumble with 1:18 left in the half and Brady Longenecker found Raphael Morales for a 21-yard touchdown with 31.7 seconds left for a touchdown. Andrew Andrzewski made the PAT for a 13-0 lead going into the lockerroom.
The third period had many highlights but no scoring. With 9:00 left the Hawks muffed a snap and Campbell missed a 47-yard field goal. Gipson then had his eighth career interception with 8:06 left but Micheal Burrell picked off Longenecker at the nine-yard line and returned it 31 yards to the 40-yard line. But again Dacula couldn’t muster any offense.
On the second play of the fourth period Longenecker found Austin Williams for a 36-yard strike with 11:44 left in the game. Andrzewski connected on the PAT and Mill Creek led 20-0.
Dacula avoided the shutout with a Buckingham one-yard sneak on fourth down with 37 seconds left in the game. Utreras made the PAT for the final score.
“It was a very good game,” said Jarvis. “We expected it to be. We knew it would be a very tough game. You got two very prideful programs. And the quality of play and effort of both teams, that’s why I love this game every year.”
Longenecker finished 7-15 for with two interceptions but also two touchdowns. Uriah Leverette had 47 yards rushing to lead the way for the Hawks ground attack that only had 126 on the ground. “It’s just a good clean rivalry and I tip my hat to the players,” Jarvis said. “Our kids played well and made plays when we had to. I’m just proud of both teams tonight.”
Mill Creek is now 3-0 and ranked #3 in AAAAAAA while Dacula falls to 0-2.