BY KRISTI REED
In their first test of the season, the Mill Creek Hawks came up short, losing to Parkview 30-10 in a pre-season scrimmage.
Despite the disappointing loss, Mill Creek head coach Shannon Jarvis said Mill Creek would be ready for Friday's season opener against Dacula.
"I'm ready to go to work and get some things addressed and fixed," he said.
Dacula finished 2007 with a 5-5 record. The Falcons return to class AAAAA this season after spending the past two years in 8-AAAA. Coach Kevin Maloof enters his 18th season as the Falcons’ head coach. During his tenure, he has compiled a 133-63 and has led the team to five region titles.
“[Dacula is] pretty good,” Jarvis said. “They’re quick on defense and good on both sides of the ball. With Coach Maloof, they are very well coached.”
Jarvis said in order to beat the Falcons, his team will have to correct the mistakes made during the Parkview scrimmage.
“Dacula has got good players and we’ll get their best game,” he said. “Hopefully, they’ll get ours too.”
Kickoff is schedule for 7:30 p.m. in Hoschton.
The Hawks got off to a rough start in Friday’s loss to Parkview.
After giving up two quick first downs after kickoff, the defense forced a punt after a big tackle by Ryan Robinson brought up fourth and 20 for the Panthers.
Mill Creek’s first possession of the night was quickly ended when the Panthers picked off a pass at the Parkview 25-yard line.
Two plays later, Parkview had a first down after two dead ball fouls by Mill Creek. The Panthers converted twice more before a 37-yard run brought up first and goal with just under five minutes remaining in the first quarter. Parkview scored on the next play to take a 7-0 lead with 4:33 remaining in the period.
Mill Creek committed its second turnover of the night during the kickoff return. After the Hawks fumbled the return, Parkview recovered the ball on the Mill Creek 23. Two plays later, Parkview was in the end zone again taking a 14-0 lead just 22 seconds after their first score.
After a quick three and out by the Hawks, Parkview took over at their own 42-yard line. The Panthers scored on third down with a 51-yard touchdown run. With 1:09 left in the first, Parkview led 21-0.
Mill Creek got on the board early in the second period. The Hawks scored their only touchdown of the evening when sophomore Tyler Cierski made a two-yard touchdown run. Bryan Heinze kicked the extra point to close the scoring gap to 21-7.
Two possessions later, Parkview erased Mill Creek’s gain with another touchdown. The Panthers held a 28-7 lead at halftime.
While Parkview dominated the first half, a more controlled Mill Creek team hit the field for the second half of play.
After going three and out in their first possession of the half, Mill Creek backed Parkview up to a third and 25 situation during the Panthers’ first possession. After a short Panther punt, the Hawks took over at Parkview’s 43.
In the first play of the drive, Ed Russ completed an 11-yard pass to Ramael Wilson to give the Hawks a first down. Seven plays later, a pass interference call against the Panthers set up first and goal at the Parkview eight-yard line. On second down, Russ’ pass to wide receiver Zach Landis fell incomplete. On the next down, Ramael Wilson attempted to run the ball in for a score but was stopped at the five-yard line forcing the Hawks to settle for a field goal. Bryan Heinze’s kick was good, making the score 28-10 with 1:46 remaining in the third.
After a 43-yard drive early in the fourth quarter, Parkview was forced to punt the ball away at the Mill Creek 37-yard line. The ball was downed at the Mill Creek one.
Unable to gain any territory in their first attempt, Mill Creek tried again to get out of the end zone. On the second try, the Panthers scored two on a safety. The score would be the last of the game with Parkview winning 30-10.
After giving up 28 points in the first half and only two in the second, Jarvis had reason to be relieved with the Hawks’ second half performance.
“I thought our kids played a lot better in the second half. Honestly, I feel better about where we are right now than where we were before the first half,” he said. “There are some positives in there, but there is also some stuff we have to get fixed.”
Jarvis blamed lack of execution for the disappointing results early in the game.
“[It] wasn’t because of lack of effort,” he said.
Jarvis said the scrimmage was a good opportunity to get the team settled and ready to face what lies ahead in tough region 7-AAAAA.
"[Parkview] is a very good team and that's why we scrimmaged them," he said. “Most scrimmages are a little more controlled, but we wanted to go full tilt. We have to find out in some critical areas who can play at this level.”
With the first game behind them, Jarvis said he expects to see a more confident team take the field against Dacula.
“The greatest improvement you have during the year is between game one and game two,” he said. “That is why we played this like a game – to get through these mistakes and be ready for next Friday.”