NORCROSS - New Meadowcreek head coach David Ward's debut was spoiled Friday night by a fine-tuned Luella team that scored on its first five possessions for a 47-0 rout.
"Luella has a lot of weapons and we weren't quite up to speed in how to cover all of them," Ward said. "They were able to run up the score because of their weapons and converted some third and long situations. But we learned to face adversity and we are learning who can play and how they can complement each other."
Led by senior running back Edward Irby, who amassed 175 yards on 19 carries, the visiting Lions of Henry County, established their superiority from the beginning. Marching 71 yards on nine plays on the opening drive, Luella scored first on a one-yard sneak by quarterback Kameron Hughes with 7:54 left in the opening quarter.
Luella continued its onslaught by scoring on its next four possessions of the first half, including a 31-yard field goal by Grant Palmer with no time left. And the field goal was indicative of how things went for Meadowcreek because Palmer's first attempt from 40 yards was no good but the Mustangs were flagged for running into the kicker, thus giving Luella another shot at the three-pointer.
Luella's first-half lead of 33-0 was also aided by a safety on a bad punt snap from Meadowcreek midway through the second quarter.
The Mustangs did show promise in their opening drive after senior Martrez Ogletree returned the kickoff 36 yards to midfield. Meadowcreek uses two good runs from Ogletree for a first down but then stalled on downs in Luella's end of the field. The visitors took over on downs at their 38 and never looked back.
In the second half, Meadowcreek put together two drives deep into Luella territory but could not put points on the board. Led by running back Ogletree, who gained 136 yards on 15 carries, the Mustangs stalled out on the visitors' 13 yard line at the end of the game.
Before the final drive, Meadowcreek advanced to Luella's six yard line with the opening drive of the second half.
Faced with a fourth and six, Meadowcreek quarterback Tydrell Wright rolled to his left and saw his pass go just off the fingertips of wide receiver Lavon Hooks. Wright, who was shook up in the first half, turned in a courageous performance with 76 yards on 15 carries that included several sacks while attempting to pass.
The Mustangs also saw another drive in the second half end with a 65-yard fumble recovery by Luella's senior linebacker Chase Scott. Before that miscue, Meadowcreek had driven down to the Lions' 18 yard line. That drive was set up by a nice kickoff return by Mustang senior Shelton Simmons.
On the defensive side of the ball, Ward cited Hooks, Sebastin Wilkes and sophomore Julian Harris. Ward also mentioned Joe Pardo as playing well on both sides of the ball.