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Mill Creek gives playoff hopes boost with rout of Mustangs

HOSCHTON -- After dropping its first two Region 7-AAAAA games, Mill Creek -- desperately seeking an in-region victory to jumpstart its playoff hopes -- found the perfect elixir in visiting Meadowcreek as the Hawks cruised to a 56-0 victory Friday night at Mill Creek Stadium.

"We had to get a region win tonight," said Mill Creek head coach Shannon Jarvis. "We had a good off week of practice after a tough loss to Norcross, and I'm pleased with how our kids responded."

Friday night's outcome was never in doubt as Mill Creek held Meadowcreek (0-6 overall; 0-3 region) to just nine yards of total offense in the first half and 56 for the game. The Hawks, meanwhile, totaled 276 yards and scored on five of seven first-half possessions to take a 35-0 halftime lead.

After being forced to punt on its first offensive possession, Mill Creek scored the next four times it touched the ball, culminating with a 71-yard jaunt by quarterback John Russ that gave the Hawks a 28-0 lead with 9:53 remaining in the first half.

Russ also completed 6 of 8 passes -- all in the first half -- for 77 yards, including a 25-yard TD strike to James Holder late in the first quarter. He was intercepted once.

Junior running back Jacorey Lewis bookended the first-half scoring with TD runs of four and 23 yards with the later providing the 35-0 halftime lead. He finished the game with a team-high 71 yards on nine carries.

With the clock running in the second half, Mill Creek converted two interceptions of Mustang quarterback Christopher Herndon into touchdowns: a 2-yard TD run by Carter Governale and a 38-yard TD pass from back-up quarterback Eric Ritland to Dante Dixon.

Senior defensive back Jacob Wiley capped the scoring for the Hawks with a 61-yard scoop and score off a fumble by Meadowcreek quarterback Kaleb Ross -- the third quarterback the Mustangs used on the evening.

Although the scoreboard told the tale of a lopsided affair, Jarvis was quick to praise the efforts of Meadowcreek's undermanned squad.

"These (Meadowcreek) kids played their tails off the entire game," the Mill Creek coach said. "They played their hearts out. People who don't see them play and just see a score in the paper have no idea how hard these kids play."

With the victory, Mill Creek improved to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in Region 7-AAAAA. The Hawks, who scored the second-most points in a single game in school history, finished with 346 yards of total offense.

"We have some goals that are still in play," said Jarvis. "This was the first game of the second half of the season. We know we've got a big game coming up next Friday against Collins Hill."