Mountain View's Frederick Hill (3) makes a catch before being taken down by Mill Creek's Evan Cavaliere (23) and Hayden Smith (27).
Way before Mountain View's football game with Mill Creek last Friday, Bears head coach Tim Hardy was clear with his expectations for this season.
The third-year program didn't want moral victories. It was there to win games in tough Region 7-AAAAA. Its goal was a state playoff berth.
Prior to last Friday, most casual fans would have gotten a good chuckle over that ambition. Now that Hardy's Bears have knocked off Mill Creek, a state quarterfinalist last season, nobody's laughing anymore.
"That's our goal, to make the playoffs, it was our goal in the summertime," Hardy said. "We want to play an 11th game."
Mountain View made a big statement with its win over Mill Creek, notching the team's first signature win in Class AAAAA. The Bears beat first-year Lanier and lowly Meadowcreek last season, as well as Lanier again earlier this month, but Friday's victory over the Hawks was different.
Mill Creek is a proven AAAAA program, one that just happened to send a good chunk of students to Mountain View when it opened.
"It was a good night for our players, first and foremost, but for our coaches, for everyone on staff, for our school," Hardy said of the teams' Region 7-AAAAA opener.
The Bears surrendered the lead just before halftime, but went back ahead on a Jeffrey Stone field goal. From there, they held on for the biggest win in program history.
It certainly created a buzz in the Gwinnett coaching circle.
"I'm sure a lot of people weren't expecting us to win," Hardy said. "Mill Creek's got an excellent football team."
Mountain View (2-2) didn't score many points against the Hawks, but its ball-control offense was clearly a factor. It held possession for 30 minutes by sustaining drives, converting 7 of 12 third-downs.
Quarterback Chris Bartlett was steady with a 13-for-16 passing night for 130 yards.
"Our quarterback was awesome," Hardy said. "He just really took care of the ball in his fourth game as a starter. He made a lot of plays that helped us control the ball."
He was just as happy with his defense.
A unit that struggled in a 54-14 loss to Central Gwinnett in the season opener, looked nothing like that team against Mill Creek.
"We were just really disciplined on defense and got aligned well," Hardy said. "The biggest thing is we kept people in front of us and made tackles."
Now the Bears have to repeat their upset Friday night, when they travel to Peachtree Ridge. The Lions are 3-1 and one of four teams at 1-0 atop 7-AAAAA with Mountain View.