Photo: Craig Cappy Duluth quarterback Will DeLorenzo (17) watches as Lavonte Cranford (25) fights for a first down against Peachtree Ridge earlier this season.
MILL CREEK AT DULUTH
Mill Creek Hawks (7-AAAAAA)
• Coach: Shannon Jarvis
• Record: 4-3, 3-2 region
• Last week: Lost to North Gwinnett 47-28
Duluth Wildcats (7-AAAAAA)
• Coach: Corey Jarvis
• Record: 2-4, 1-3 region
• Last week: Had a bye
• Last meeting: Mill Creek won 48-7 last year
• Directions to Duluth High School: From I-85, take Ga. Highway 120 west to Buford Highway and turn right. Take a left at the next light onto Brock Road and school is on the left.
Coming off a bye, Duluth appears to be the healthiest it's been since play in Region 7-AAAAAA began.
After a loss to North Gwinnett, that's not the best news for Mill Creek.
The threat starts with the Wildcats' Myles Campbell, a player with the ability to score any time he touches the ball. He's taken plenty of hits this year, but is healthy and ready for Friday night.
"When you have a kid like that, that makes it kind of hard on the other team," Duluth head coach Corey Jarvis said. "He does that for the other teams we play. You have to defend. You have to find out where he is."
Mill Creek head coach Shannon Jarvis agreed.
"He's a player we've seen for the past couple of years," Shannon Jarvis said.
Will Delorenzo is back in the fold at quarterback after separating his shoulder early in the season. And his return could not come at a better time since his back-up, Tyler Campbell is a question mark due to injury for the Wildcats.
"Will is a good decision maker," Corey Jarvis said. "He is a smart kid."
Along with a healthy Campbell and Delorenzo, Duluth also expects the return of linemen Alex Brown and Grant Cole.
"Hopefully that will help us depth-wise," Corey Jarvis said. "We were able to get some kids back that were pretty banged up. We are still not at 100 percent."
Mill Creek, by contrast is as close as any football team can be to fully healthy.
"We don't have anyone that is going to be out," Shannon Jarvis said.
And that is equal trouble for Duluth, which struggled when it faced spread offenses earlier this season, beginning with South Gwinnett.
"One thing we told our kids is that they are a big-play team," Corey Jarvis said. "If we are going to beat them, we are going to have to make them drive the length of the field on defense. We just can't give up (big plays)."
Shannon Jarvis likes his team's big-play ability, but isn't resigned to only the home run.
"We like to spread it out and throw it around," Shannon Jarvis said. "But we want to be able to control the ball."
Running back Jacorey Lewis helps that cause for the Hawks, racking up 1,006 yards so far this season on the ground. But with quarterback Daniel David improving every week and his outside threats of DeVozea Felton and Matt Pursell, Mill Creek is as balanced an offensive attack as Duluth has faced.
"(Felton) reminds me of our No. 8, Myles Campbell," Corey Jarvis said. "They are explosive on offense. Lewis and (David) are both really good ball players."