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Strong overall effort lifts North over Mill Creek 29-7

Photo: Brian Kamer North Gwinnett running back Joseph Jones (2) is dragged down by Mill Creek's Brandon Holley (39) during Friday night's game.

Photo: Brian Kamer North Gwinnett running back Joseph Jones (2) is dragged down by Mill Creek's Brandon Holley (39) during Friday night's game.

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Photo: Brian Kamer North Gwinnett wide receiver Alex Boyd (22) breaks away from Mill Creek's Hayden Smith (27) during the first half of Friday night's game.5

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Photo: Brian Kamer Mill Creek wide receiver Matthew Pursell (3) is tackled by North Gwinnett's Steven Burger (56) during Friday night's game.

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SUWANEE -- Perhaps the best word to describe North Gwinnett's 29-7 win over Mill Creek on Friday night at Tom Robinson Stadium is balance.

The No. 6 state-ranked Bulldogs (7-1, 5-0) showed plenty of it in maintaining their share of the Region 7-AAAAA lead.

Offensively, Joe Jones led the running game by dashing for 125 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, while Scotty Hosch led the North aerial assault by completing 20 of 28 passes for 221 yards and two TDs, both to Chad Scott.

The Bulldogs' defense leveled the scales by holding a normally prolific Mill Creek (4-4, 1-4) offense to just 56 yards on the ground a week after it had chewed up 368 yards against Collins Hill, and had the Hawks shut out until the game's final minute.

"I thought we moved the ball pretty well," North coach Bob Sphire said. "And I felt like our defense was playing really well. ... First off, we were able to minimize the big play. Secondly, I thought we were very physical."

The closest thing either team got to a really big play throughout the evening came on the opening kickoff, when Donnie Miles took it 46 yards to set the Bulldogs up in Mill Creek territory at the 45-yard line.

Five plays later, Jones burst up the middle for 13 yards for the touchdown to put North up 7-0 just 1:30 into the game.

But from that point, both defenses began to stiffen, holding the opposing offenses scoreless the next five combined possessions.

Mill Creek had perhaps the best opportunity by taking its first possession and grinding out eight plays and draining almost four minutes off the clock.

But the drive stalled on the North 45 when Carter Governale was stopped short on fourth and less than a yard, sending momentum back to the Bulldogs.

"With North, if you get the ball in a scoring area, you've got to get points out of it," Mill Creek coach Shannon Jarvis said. "When you get opportunities, you've got to take advantage of them. If you don't, they're good enough offensively to take the ball, and they're going to score their points."

And North finally began to get those points late in the first half.

The Bulldogs moved 73 yards in nine plays before Hosch connected with Scott on a 14-yard scoring strike. The extra point was blocked, but North's lead grew to 13-0 with 3:07 left in the first half.

After a quick three-and-out from Mill Creek, the Bulldogs struck again right before half, with Alexjandro Arroyave booting a 35-yard field goal as the buzzer sounded to send North into intermission with a 16-0 lead and plenty of momentum.

"That's when we start rolling," said Bulldogs defensive lineman and recent Mississippi State commit Jordan Washington, who was a big presence most of the evening, including combining with Justin Alibi for a first-half sack. "That's when we get it locked in. ... The emotion gets going and we just go with it."

The Bulldogs kept the positive emotions going in the third quarter when a Miles interception set up another score, with Hosch hitting Scott again to convert on fourth down for a 16-yard TD pass to push the lead to 23-0 with 6:21 left in the period.

Arroyave added a pair of 37-yard field goals to make the score 29-0 before Mill Creek finally got on the board late in the game.

The Hawks rolled up 79 of their 217 total yards in the final 4:06 of the game, with John Russ completing 6 of 8 passes for 64 yards, including a 12-yard scoring strike to Joey St. Clair-Everette with 50 seconds left to finally get Mill Creek on the board and cut North's lead to 29-7.

Russ finished the night 13 of 23 with an interception for 161 yards and the score.

Comments

NGHS09 2 years, 5 months ago

NG's defense was head hunting last night. Our run defense is amazing and is going to make the difference this year deep in the playoffs. Our secondary just continues to get better and better. Mill Creek's receivers were getting their heads taken off for even thinking about catching the ball. The deep ball late in the 4th qrt was the only positive for Mill Creek's offense. They have some serious weapons on offense! It's a shame they have had a rough season.

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NGHS09 2 years, 5 months ago

NG's last field goal was 42 yards actually, it would have been 37 yds but we had a false start that moved it back to 42 and Alexjandro Arroyave nailed it with plenty to spare. I'm VERY glad to see he is getting better every week and more than capable of making a field goal 35 + yds out. We can now win the close game with our kicking game!

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MCFootball 2 years, 5 months ago

North Gwinnett had the same thoughts last year heading into the play offs. Knocked off by a #4seed in the first round. Mill Creek Made it to the Elite 8. Every feild goal kicked friday night was made with little to spare. None of them were honestly good kicks.

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TheLastWord 2 years, 5 months ago

MCFootball, we made to the second round - get your facts straight. Too bad your season will be over Nov 4th; ours will not. As for the field goals, he MADE them. You guys should have been shut out...at least you scored on the JV defense. Can't live off last year's effort - that won't win any games for you.

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NGHS09 2 years, 5 months ago

Is someone being bitter? No one really sees eye-to-eye, but your nuts for knocking our kicker lol. Your frustration is not with NG, but with Mountainview and Collins Hill; two games you SHOULD have won. I would hope you don't think MC had a good chance to beat NG for the first time. MC has a lot of weapons and is a very good football team, but NG dominated you and left the Hawks with only 50 seconds to put up a TD. This was NOT a game they should have won. This year NG has a true QB and a perfect balance of running and passing; the defense is stellar, but I guess you already saw both parts. Our kicking game is night and day better this year as well.

"North Gwinnett had the same thoughts last year heading into the play offs. Knocked off by a #4seed in the first round. Mill Creek Made it to the Elite 8."

HA Surely you're joking. The #4 seed we played was Lassiter and we beat them by 49 points. 1) Grayson beat us in the second round. 2) Grayson was #3 seed. 3) Grayson lost a close one to Colquitt (who MC lost by 2 TD's to) in the semi's after blanking two of their previous three opponents. 4) Etowah was terrible and South Gwinnett had no defense. 5) This season, undoubtedly, proves that last year for MC was a fluke season...a one hit wonder. 6) MC has never beaten NG or even come close for that matter. 7) Over the last 5 years, NG has made the finals once, won region twice, and made the Qrt Finals 4 out of the last 5 years. Oh and have easily beaten your Hawks 6 straight times.

So where does that leave MC with any room to say anything about NG....?

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MCFootball 2 years, 5 months ago

So if NG is so good why do you have no state championship to show for it? Mill Creek didn't lose that game based on a lack of will or a lack of effort. NG has certain players in positions that make a huge difference on the feild. Your quarterback was not one of them. However NG could have the best linemen in the region. Still, I'll be impressed when theres a state ring to show for it.

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TheLastWord 2 years, 5 months ago

They'll get one BEFORE MC...your team is good (witness what you did to Alpharetta) but you are not yet ready to challenge for the top of the region. We should make the quarters without trying hard this year; what we do from there will determine whether we impress you this year or not....

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