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New birds flock to Mill Creek for scrimmage

HOSCHTON - Are you ready for some football? The community surrounding Mill Creek High School sure is, and not only from their beloved Hawks, who conclude their first week of preseason conditioning today.

No, the team taking to the field at Mill Creek Community Stadium tonight will be birds of a different feather.

The Atlanta Falcons will give area fans a free glimpse of the team with a live scrimmage, plus other activities as part of what the team is calling "Falcons Friday Night Lights."

The gates open at 6 p.m., with new coach Mike Smith's offense squaring off against the defense in a scrimmage, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Fans will get a unique perspective via microphones on the field, inside some players' helmets and on some of the coaches.

A 15-minute autograph session with the players will follow the scrimmage, and the evening will be capped by a fireworks display.

This is the first time the Falcons have brought this event to Mill Creek High School, and it will be followed up with another event at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta at noon Saturday to complete the team's "All-Access Weekend."

With free admission, a capacity crowd of about 8,000 fans is expected, and Mill Creek football coach Shannon Jarvis said the facility is ready despite extra work put in by himself, his staff and the Mill Creek Booster Club during an already busy week.

"It's been busy, but we've got everything ready," Jarvis said. "It really hasn't been too bad. This is a great opportunity for our high school and for Gwinnett County."

SideBar: At a glance

Falcons Friday Night Lights

· What: The Atlanta Falcons will conduct a live offense vs. defense scrimmage, plus a post-scrimmage autograph session, youth activities and games and fireworks.

· When: Today, gates open at 6 p.m. Scrimmage between the Atlanta Falcons' offense and defense begins at 7:30 p.m.

· Where: Mill Creek High School, Hoschton

· Admission: Free

· For more information: www.atlantafalcons.com/allaccess