JOHNS CREEK - Ed Russ rushed for two touchdowns, passed for two more scores and Mill Creek used three long scoring plays to defeat Chattahoochee 41-20 in a Region 7-AAAAA game on Friday.
Trailing 10-6 midway through the second quarter, Russ led Mill Creek (4-3, 2-3 7-AAAAA) on a nine-play, 72-yard drive highlighted by two third-down conversions. James Powell's 11-yard touchdown run capped the drive for 13-10 lead.
The Hawks struck again before the end of the first half. On third-and-15, Russ found Chris Avery for a 32-yard gain. Two plays later, Russ, who completed 8 of 12 passes for 200 yards, hit Avery streaking down the middle of the field behind the secondary for a 48-yard score to take a 20-10 advantage into halftime.
"Ed (Russ) played well tonight, as did all of our backs, and we were going to need a good game from our backs," Mill Creek coach Shannon Jarvis said. "We were worried defensively coming into the game because (Chattahoochee) can put points on the board."
Russ led Mill Creek to a quick score on the opening possession of the game when he took a shotgun snap, looked inside before sweeping to the right side and eluded two Cougar defenders to race 62-yards for a 6-0 lead.
The Hawks took over to start the second half on their own 27-yard line after forcing a Chattahoochee punt. Wilson received a handoff from Russ, and bounced to the right side, fighting off would-be Cougar tacklers, and ran 73 yards for the score to seemingly put the game out of reach. Wilson finished with 109 yards on 11 carries.
Brendan Cross and the Cougar offense gave the homecoming crowd a glimmer of hope, as they pulled to within seven early in the fourth quarter. Chattahoochee scored on a 4-yard pass from Cross to Hunter Thomas to cap an 11-play, 63-yard drive, and then added a field goal to close the gap to 27-20.
The rally was short lived, however, as Mill Creek recovered an onside kick, leading to a 57-yard scoring strike from Russ to Avery on the second play from scrimmage. Avery had three catches for 137 yards along with the two TDs.
Following a muffed kickoff by the Cougars, Russ scampered in from 12 yards out to provide the final margin. The TDs, just 45 seconds apart, proved to be too much for the Cougars to overcome.