Peachtree Ridge’s Laceem McCall (58) strips the ball from Mill Creek quarterback Daniel David (12) during Friday’s game. (Photo: Craig Cappy)
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HOSCHTON — The buzz after one of the most exciting plays in Mill Creek football history lasted seconds.
After a miraculous, 77-yard touchdown catch and run by Devozea Felton, the Hawks missed the ensuing extra point with less than two minutes remaining, the last mistake in a Friday night full of them from the hosts.
The last miscue helped Peachtree Ridge hang on for a 31-30 victory in a battle of unbeatens from Region 7-AAAAAA, riding the second-half running of Jordan Ellis to a huge win.
“The kids just believed,” Peachtree Ridge head coach Mark Fleetwood said. “They fought through, that’s what is exciting. We’re 4-0 and that’s a good feeling. I’m very proud of the community. I’m very proud for Peachtree Ridge.”
Peachtree Ridge took advantage of Mill Creek’s errors throughout the night, scoring three of its touchdowns on short fields after Hawk mistakes. Travis Bowers was responsible for two of those, with an interception on Mill Creek’s first offensive snap and a fumble recovery on a muffed punt.
The Lions (4-0, 2-0) also scored the game-winning TD after a shanked 6-yard punt by the Hawks, who also struggled with 15 penalties for 114 yards. Seven of those flags were for illegal procedure.
“The bottom line is we made too many mistakes to win the football game,” said Mill Creek head coach Shannon Jarvis, whose team fell to 3-1 overall, 1-1 in the region. “You can’t do that against a very good team like Peachtree Ridge. The mistakes started early with alignment issues and penalties. We know what we need to work on.”
The visiting Lions had a clear plan to capitalize on the mistakes — feed the ball to Ellis.
The Virginia commitment had just nine rushes for 41 yards and no catches at halftime, but he had 25 touches in the second half. He finished the night with 31 rushes for 146 yards and three TDs, as well as three catches for 22 yards.
“They said they were going to come to me, to be patient,” Ellis said. “The first half we were trying to feel the defense out and they said the second half was my time and I answered.”
Peachtree Ridge took a 14-10 lead just before halftime on Chance Thrasher’s 11-yard TD pass to Myron Burton, but Mill Creek got its running game cranked up in the third quarter. Carter Governale (14 rushes, 85 yards) scored on a 9-yard run for a 17-14 Hawks lead, then the defense for its second straight three-and-out.
But a muffed punt immediately gave the ball back to the Lions, and Ellis ran in for a 5-yard score to cap a two-play, 12-yard drive. Governale’s 21-yard TD run on the first play of the fourth quarter put Mill Creek up 24-21, but Peachtree Ridge answered with a game-tying drive on Evan Pantels’ short field goal. Ellis had eight touches on the 10-play drive.
Mill Creek then hit its 6-yard punt, giving the Lions possession at the Hawks’ 45-yard line. Peachtree Ridge scored on a 10-play drive, nine of them runs by Ellis, who capped it with a 5-yard TD run with 2:54 left.
Mill Creek was still deep in its territory when Daniel David (239 passing yards, 73 rushing yards) lofted a pass to midfield and Felton grabbed it between two leaping Lion defenders. He then broke through a tackler and raced for a 77-yard score that looked like it would tie the score with 1:39 left.
But the PAT failed and Brandon Johnson recovered the Mill Creek onside kick. Ellis then picked up a quick first down that allowed the Lions to run out the clock on the victory.
“It’s a big region game,” Ellis said. “We lost to them last year and we felt like we gave the game away. We wanted revenge and we felt like we proved ourselves.”
PEACHTREE RIDGE 31, MILL CREEK 30
Peachtree Ridge 7 7 7 10 - 31
Mill Creek 7 3 7 13 - 30
Peachtree Ridge: Jordan Ellis 3 run (Evan Pantels kick) 9:52
Mill Creek: Daniel David 17 run (Bryson King kick) 3:39
Mill Creek: King 40 FG, 8:09
Peachtree Ridge: Myron Burton 11 pass from Chance Thrasher (Pantels kick) 1:00
Mill Creek: Carter Governale 9 run (King kick) 5:02
Peachtree Ridge: Ellis 5 run (Pantels kick) 3:27
Mill Creek: Governale 21 run (King kick) 11:54
Peachtree Ridge: Pantels 18 FG, 7:01
Peachtree Ridge: Ellis 5 run (Pantels kick) 2:54
Mill Creek: Devozea Felton 77 pass from David (kick failed) 1:39
First downs 19 23
Rushes-yards 40-145 41-229
Passing yards 191 239
Comp-Att-INT 21-33-0 12-27-1
Fumbles-lost 1-0 3-1
Penalties-yards 9-65 15-114
RUSHING - Peachtree Ridge: Ellis 31-146; Thrasher 7-10; Team 2-(-11). Mill Creek: Governale 14-85; David 11-73; Felton 7-40; Jordan Sylvain 4-19; Johnathan Hawkins 5-12.
PASSING - Peachtree Ridge: Thrasher 21-33-0, 191. Mill Creek: David 12-27-1, 239.
RECEIVING - Peachtree Ridge: Tyler Campbell 7-45; Burton 6-40; Malik Robinson 3-39; Ellis 3-22; Brandon Johnson 1-44; Kendall Cobb 1-1. Mill Creek: Eric Ritland 3-74; Felton 2-79; Austin Ragsdale 2-48; Joseph Hull 2-23; Sylvain 2-10; David Curry 1-5.
HIGHLIGHTS: Peachtree Ridge vs. Mill Creek Football
Highlights from the Peachtree Ridge vs. Mill Creek football game on Sept. 20, 2013.