HOSCHTON -- Mill Creek and Duluth both came into the final game of the season with the same goal, to finish with a .500 record. For the Wildcats, it would have been their first since 2003. For the Hawks, it was a chance to finish on a positive note after a season full of what head coach Shannon Jarvis referred to as tough losses.
Mill Creek (5-5, 2-5 Region 7-AAAAA) was able to achieve its goal with a 48-7 win behind a very impressive rushing attack that produced 415 yards and was led by a 264-yard, five-touchdown effort from junior Jacorey Lewis. Jarvis said the game plan was simple and his team executed it exactly the way he had hoped.
"It's probably the most solid game we've played all year," said Jarvis. "Our offensive line played absolutely great. They knew early in the week because we told them point blank it was going to be on them."
Mill Creek got things started after receiving the opening kickoff and driving 73 yards in nine plays in just under four minutes. Lewis carried five times on the drive and ended it with his first TD from 21 yards out.
Duluth (4-6, 2-5 region) looked as if it would match the Hawks' drive as they moved into Mill Creek territory on its first possession but came up short on a fourth-and-three from the 28-yard line. It was the only time the Mill Creek defense would allow Duluth to threaten until the third quarter when the Wildcats finally got on the board with a one-yard run by Henry Enyenihi capping off a 75-yard, 17-play drive. That scoring march began with Anfornee Stewart at quarterback but ended with Will Delorenzo taking snaps after Stewart left the game for the second time with an injury. Stewart did not return.
The only thing that went wrong for Lewis in the game was when he fumbled deep in Wildcat territory late in the first quarter. The defense picked him up immediately. On the third play after Duluth recovered the fumble, Stewart threw a pass that was picked off by Steven Mancinelli, who returned it 11 yards for a score. After that, Lewis never looked back, scoring four more times.
The Mill Creek defense was able to hold Duluth to only 176 yards of total offense. The Hawks had four interceptions and Trevor Joyce had two sacks and another tackle for loss.
The Hawks were able to get a lot of seniors in the game late, including Kyle Dye, who scored from five yards out to put the finishing touches on the victory.
"The biggest plays made tonight were by our seniors. I am so proud of them and our whole team tonight," said Jarvis. "All in all everybody played so well. We were able to get a lot of kids in and it turned out to be a really great night."