Peachtree Ridge Lions (7-AAAAA)
Coach: Mark Fleetwood
Record: 7-1, 5-0 region
Last week: Beat Duluth 47-14
Mill Creek Hawks (7-AAAAA)
Coach: Shannon Jarvis
Record: 4-4, 1-4 region
Last week: Lost to North Gwinnett 29-7
It may be Mark Fleetwood's first year at Peachtree Ridge, but he knows the Lions' recent history.
"Mill Creek knocked us out of the playoffs last year," the Lions' coach said. "Our idea is we are going into this game, we want to win our next game and the rest will take care of itself."
That "rest" is a potential Region 7-AAAAA championship game next Friday against North Gwinnett. But that keeps its luster only if Peachtree Ridge can beat Mill Creek tonight. It's a dangerous Hawks team despite its underwhelming record. Untimely injuries hurt Mill Creek's early-season success, but head coach Shannon Jarvis refuses to accept injuries as the culprit.
"We have players that need to step in and play," he said. "Our kids have a lot of pride in what we are doing. Anytime you can go out and play, you don't take that for granted."
Even after allowing 29 points to North Gwinnett last week, Mill Creek's defense played well, save for giving up big plays. Patrick Waugh made nine tackles to tie for the team high in the game and every week the defense gets more experience against offenses with the speed it will face tonight against Peachtree Ridge.
"You have to defend the whole field with them," Jarvis said. "We have to keep them in front of us."
And for Fleetwood's Lions, they know what's in front of them, with a playoff berth already assured. But they aren't looking ahead, at least they aren't trying to.
Last meeting: Mill Creek won 14-7 last year
Directions to Mill Creek High School: From I-85, take the Hamilton Mill Road exit and go east. At the immediate light, turn left on Ga. Highway 124/Braselton Highway. School is approximately three miles ahead on the left.