Photo: Brian Kamer — The Mill Creek football team takes the field prior to the game against Collins Hill on Friday night.
HIGHLIGHTS: Mill Creek vs. Collins Hill
Highlights from the Mill Creek vs. Collins Hill football game in which the Hawks defeated the Eagles 17-14.
SUWANEE — B.J. Harmon got a piece of it and Brandon Holley's right hand, casted heavily from a break three weeks ago, finished off Collins Hill's last-second field goal and rescued Mill Creek on Friday night.
The two Hawk seniors stuffed Mitchell Blanchard's 31-yard try as time expired, sealing Mill Creek's 17-14 victory that locked up third place in Region 7-AAAAAA. Mill Creek travels to Alpharetta next Friday for the first round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs while Collins Hill plays at West Forsyth.
"I knew we had to make a stop and I knew it was up to me and B.J.," Holley said. "There was nothing on my mind except making that play."
Both Hawks broke through the left side of the Eagles' line, sending the visitors sprinting down the field in celebration.
"Coach (Jed) Hodges told me, 'You go outside and Holley will go inside,'" Harmon said. "I got a piece of it and so did (Holley)."
Mill Creek (7-3, 6-2) took its lead with a late fourth-quarter drive, which began with 3:32 left at its own 20-yard line. Collins Hill (6-4, 5-3) had drained the 8:28 of the fourth quarter with a long drive that ended with a missed 24-yard field goal.
The Hawks needed just six plays to put up a game-winning score, thanks to a 59-yard pass from Daniel David to Michael Cheeks that put them at the Collins Hill 2-yard line. Jacorey Lewis finished the drive off with a 1-yard touchdown run with 1:09 remaining behind Mill Creek's jumbo set and big defensive tackle Kelsey Griffin, who lined up in the backfield.
A pass interference call and exceptional play from Collins Hill quarterback Tyler Herman, in for the injured Brett Sheehan, got the Eagles in position for a tying field goal. Herman was 26 of 38 passing for 225 yards and Julian Williams had 12 catches for 104 yards.
But the hosts fell just short of overtime thanks to Mill Creek's blocked field goal.
"I'm proud of our entire team's resiliency," Mill Creek head coach Shannon Jarvis said. "They found a way to win this game. I don't know how many times in our history that we've done that. In a game where we're not playing well, but we're able to come back and find a way to win."
Both teams turned the ball over twice in the first quarter, but most of the first-half sloppiness was reserved for Mill Creek, which had more penalty yards (67) than offensive yards (57) at halftime. Two of those penalties were personal fouls that aided an 18-play Collins Hill scoring drive that ended on Rhyan England's 5-yard TD run in the second quarter.
Mill Creek went up 7-6 on its first second-half possession when Jacorey Lewis reeled off a 49-yard TD run. It was the only highlight of the night for the county's leading rusher, who gained just 28 yards on his other 15 carries against a stout Collins Hill defense.
Dwayne Smith's 42-yard kick return set up an answer from the Eagles, a 4-yard TD pass from Herman to Williams. Bryson King's 27-yard field goal at the end of the third quarter closed Mill Creek's deficit to 14-10.
A missed field goal kept Collins Hill from adding to the lead, Mill Creek scored the go-ahead TD and then Holley and Harmon made sure the game ended in regulation.
"I'm extremely proud of our defense," Jarvis said. "It's been a shootout (with Collins Hill) the last couple of years and this turned into a defensive game. I'm proud of our kids on defense running to the ball and playing with a lot of intensity."