BY KRISTI REED
This Friday, August 1, Mill Creek High School will do something no other area high school has done. The school will play host to the Atlanta Falcons as the team travels to Hoschton to kick off a two-day fan fest.
“It’s going to be a huge event. We’re excited and we’re just trying to get the word out and make sure everybody knows that it’s going to be here,” said Mill Creek head coach Shannon Jarvis.
Jarvis has been working the last few months to make sure that the Hawks put their best foot forward when the NFL team visits the Mill Creek campus.
From stadium improvements to regular meetings with the Falcons groundskeeper, Jarvis and his staff have been focused on getting ready for August 1.
Last week, Jarvis met with the Falcons’ pyrotechnics expert to review plans for the fireworks show scheduled after the scrimmage. This week, a crew will visit the stadium to paint the Falcons logo on the field and hang signs in preparation for Friday’s event.
Admission to the scrimmage is free. The Falcons are scheduled to arrive at 6:30 p.m. Warm-ups begin at 6:50 p.m. with kickoff scheduled for 7:15 p.m. The scrimmage will be followed by a 15 minute autograph session. Parts of the scrimmage will be televised on WXIA.
“They want it full and so do we,” Jarvis said. “We want to put on a good show for the Falcons. I’ve told the Falcons that our community won’t let them down.”
THE CHOSEN SCHOOL
So how did Mill Creek High School beat out other metro area schools for the honor of hosting the Falcons? Jarvis said the selection process began several months ago.
Jarvis met Falcons’ director of community relations of youth Chris Millman prior to the USA football clinics held last year at Mill Creek.
When Millcan and the USA football staff visited Mill Creek, they were impressed with what the school had to offer.
“They were amazed with the facilities,” Jarvis said. When the Falcons’ staff met to discuss the possibility of having a fan day at a local high school as opposed to holding the event downtown, Millcan suggested that Mill Creek would be the perfect location.
When Falcons head coach Mike Smith visited the school to deliver the key note speech at the USA clinic, he took one look at the field and was sold on the idea.
“It wasn’t a big selling job,” Jarvis said. “We feel that if we can get people on the campus, the facilities speak for themselves. We feel we have the parking and the stadium to hold the crowd.”
The convenient Hoschton location was also a factor, Jarvis said.
“The proximity to Flowery Branch makes it a lot easier for them to load their players up and come here,” Jarvis said. “
Initially, the Falcons had planned to use the field only, but, after touring the field house, they have decided to set up a VIP room in the Hawks’ team room and use the varsity locker room.
“We’re fortunate that Mill Creek gladly opened its doors to us, allowing our club use of its state-of-the-art facilities and campus for such a unique opportunity for Falcons fans,” said Atlanta Falcons President Rich McKay. Mckay said partnering with Mill Creek High School for the Friday Night Lights portion of the Allstate All-Access Weekend helps connect the Falcons training camp experience with fans in communities around metro Atlanta.
Coach Jarvis is excited about the Falcons visit and hopes Friday’s event is just the beginning of a long relationship with the Falcons’ franchise.
“The excitement is building every day,” he said. “If they want to come back next year, I want them to know the facility is open to them.”