JOHNS CREEK The new season felt conspicuously like the old one for the Meadowcreek Mustangs as they committed 25 penalties in their season opener to fall to 6-AAAAA foe Northview 35-0 on Friday night.
With the loss, which was the team's second consecutive season-opening loss to the Titans, the Mustangs have lost 29 games in a row as they head into next week's matchup with rival Berkmar.
NORTHVIEW 35, MEADOWCREEK 0
Meadowcreek 0 0 0 0 - 0
Northview 0 14 21 0 - 35
Northview: Evan Jacks 6 run (Peyton Ericson kick) 8:15
Northview: Terrence Upshaw 5 run (Ericson kick) 2:30
Northview: Jacks 2 run (Ericson kick) 6:13
Northview: Upshaw 3 run (Ericson kick) 3:21
Northview: Upshaw 2 run (Ericson kick) :47
Penalties cost the Mustangs dearly in the lopsided loss to Northview. Meadowcreek lost 134 yards to costly mistakes, including multiple pass interference calls and personal fouls.
"Twenty-five penalties is not Meadowcreek football," coach Deario Grimmage said. "I look at myself as a head coach, and it's my job to correct those penalties."
Both teams appeared to be shaking off the rust during the first quarter. Northview failed to get anything going against a stingy Mustangs defense in the first quarter, and Meadowcreek turned a promising opening drive into a turnover that put the Titans into their own half of the field.
Northview turned began to hog the momentum with its first touchdown of the game less than four minutes into the second quarter. Titans quaterback Evan Jacks scampered 6 yards into the end zone to capitalize on Meadowcreek's facemask and offside penalties.
Meadowcreek had a chance to shift the game in its favor when Malik Saunders recovered a Terrence Upshaw fumble on the Northview 47, but an Ridwan Issahaku's pass was intercepted by Northview's Terry Brown, who nabbed two picks in the game.
Northview wasted little time in taking advantage of the turnover. Jacks connected with wide open senior Chisom Okolie for a 29-yard gain. The Mustangs held the Titans there until Jacks hit junior Anterrious Green for a 28-yard gain, which set Upshaw up for a 5-yard run up the gut for the Titans' second touchdown.
The third quarter signaled the death knell for the Mustangs' season opener. The Titans failed to score on their opening drive, but quickly remedied the situation after recovering a bad snap on a punt attempt at the Mustangs' 23. The short drive culminated in a 2-yard keeper for Jacks.
Penalties hindered the Mustangs again on the Titans' third possession of the second half. A 15yard personal foul and a 15-yard pass interference call put the Titans in the redzone. They scored a touchdown with 3:21 remaining off of a second Upshaw run up the gut.
The Titans' finished their onslaught with a third rushing touchdown by Upshaw on their final drive of the third quarter.
"I didn't see much quitting in the team, but I did see a lack of focus," Grimmage said. "At some point in the game fatigue set in, and I didn't see a lot of communication."
Grimmage brought in freshman Patrick Mills to take some snaps under center for the Mustangs at the beginning of the third quarter. He found quick success in the air with a pair of 30-yard passes to Chandler McCoy and Kaleb Ross, which put the Mustangs within 10 yards of their first score of the season. Mills threw for the back of the end zone but was picked off by Evan Sather to effectively end the game.
Issahaku finished with 57 yards rushing on seven attempts. Mills led the team with 60 yards passing on only four attempts.
"We have to work on meshing as a team before we can get right," Grimmage said.