Russ leads Mill Creek to 35-27 win over Dacula

Mill Creek quarterback John Russ (7) runs to the right with Dacula linebacker Azziz Higgins (44) in pursuit during the first quarter of a football game played Friday in Dacula.

Mill Creek quarterback John Russ (7) runs to the right with Dacula linebacker Azziz Higgins (44) in pursuit during the first quarter of a football game played Friday in Dacula.


Mill Creek running back Carter Governale (18) celebrates his second quarter touchdown reception with teammate James Holder (11) during a game played against Dacula in Dacula Friday.

— All of a sudden, a football game once within hand started to slip.

But just like when the Hawks built their lead, they turned to senior quarterback John Russ to lead. Russ completed a third-down pass to Jacorey Lewis for 15 yards and then sealed the win with a fourth-down touchdown strike to Michael Cheeks to end any hopes of a Dacula comeback as Mill Creek went on to win 35-27 and re-take bragging rights in the border rivalry.

"This is a good way to start the season," Mill Creek head coach Shannon Jarvis said.

When the final gun finally went off, the capacity vistors crowd, almost all in white sprinted onto the Falcons' field, celebrating the closer-than expected win.

Because at halftime, the results looked certain with Mill Creek (1-0) leading 28-6.

Russ started the game completing his first seven passes for 151 yards to spark the offense.

The Hawks scored on their first two possessions and forced a three-and-out in between. Passes from Russ highlighted both drives. He completed a 43-yard pass to James Holder to set up a six-yard score by Lewis on the first drive. On the second, it was a 49-yard screen pass to Lewis on third down. Lewis made a spin move near the line of scrimmage to break free on the run. He punched it in on the next play.

"Jacorey Lewis ran the ball extremely hard," Jarvis said. "We have a lot of skill position players getting their first varsity experience."


Mill Creek vs. Dacula football highlights

Highlights from the Mill Creek vs. Dacula football game.

Highlights from the Mill Creek vs. Dacula football game.

Russ ended the game completing 16 of 27 passes for 316 yards and two touchdowns. Lewis added four catches for 77 yards to go with his team-high 49 yards rushing.

Down 14-0, Dacula's (0-2) offense found some life and got plenty of help from Mill Creek. The Falcons went 69 yards, with the help of 35 yards in Mill Creek penalties, to get on the scoreboard. Marcus Cox found some space up the middle and shot 18 yards into the end zone. It was the biggest offensive play of the game for the Falcons at that point.

Until the fourth quarter Dacula never got closer.

The Hawks scored two more times in the second quarter, the first a three-yard pitch to Carter Governale to cap a 78-yard drive. Russ finally got his touchdown pass when he hit Governale in the corner of the end zone from 28 yards out.

"If we play the way we started the game, we have a chance to be special," Jarvis said. "If not, back to average."

Jarvis' biggest concern were his team's 164 yards in penalties in the game. More than once they faced first down conversions of more than 20 yards, including a first-and-41 in the second half.

"We have to work on our discipline," Jarvis said. "On Monday's practice we are going to get that fixed."

At the half, the Hawks' 65 penalty yards eclipsed Dacula's 49 total yards of offense, a show of how dominant the Mill Creek played the first two quarters.

But a late turnover by Russ ended the first half and Mill Creek gave the ball right back to Dacula on its first offensive play of the second half.

Dacula turned the fumble into points when Cox scampered 39 yards for his second of three touchdowns on the night.

As penalties continued to stall Mill Creek drives, the defense did enough to stall the Falcons offense just long enough.

It wasn't until the fourth quarter with Rocky Capobianco installed as quarterback, that the Falcons tightened the game. They rode the senior all-purpose player down the field with Capobianco rushing for 26 yards on the drive and ending it was a strike to Brandyn Bartlett to bring the Falcons to within 28-19 with 5:21 left in the game.

Capobianco led the Falcons with 79 yards rushing on 19 carries. Cox carried the ball 11 times for 74 yards.

But that's when Russ, his most recent passes picked off or incomplete, put the rough patch in the past and brought Mill Creek back to the end zone to put the game away.

"We are going to get better," Jarvis said. "It's a lot easier to correct the mistakes on Monday when you win."


hurst 4 years, 1 month ago

Great crowd, great noise, great atmosphere. Take the officials out of the game and it was a great evening. In the third quarter the officials took a caught Dacula pass where the receiver was interfered with (flag on the ground) and somehow decided that Mill Creek had intercepted the pass because the defense came up with ball 3 yards out of bounds. Had this been called correctly, you might have had another classic series finish. If Atlanta Area Officials Association can't put anything better than this on the field, they should disband the group. But as a Dacula parent I have to congratulate Coach Jarvis and his staff. When he corrects the cheap shots on the field and first game mistakes the Hawks will go deep in the playoffs. Dacula's boys never gave up. Out sized at every position, they fought till the end and nearly came up with a very improbable win. Proud of the Falcons and #60


bulldog34 4 years ago

Just an idiotic comment


Bigsarge 4 years, 1 month ago

Congrats to the Hawks, great job Youngmen, the crowd was great the atmosphere was electric ,the creek came to play ball, Our coaches scripted a great batch of play calling. But Mill Creek did take thier foot off the gas pedal with the penalties and i'm sure that our coaches will get the penalties under control and i'm sure that these youngmen of ours will step up to the plate and make this season special. Being average is not the standard of Mill Creek Football and i'm proud of the Whole team and staff. Let's Go Hawks!!!!!!!!


BufordGuy 4 years, 1 month ago

Sloppiest game I ever saw. The scoreboard may have said Mill Creek won, but that's not the case. The defense showed absolutely no pride in the way they performed in the 2nd half. Russ has a LONG way to go to show he's somebody. It would have been very much different if he didn't have some really good receivers.


hurst 4 years, 1 month ago

Hey GDP, Why put BufordBozo's post up. Let him bash MCHS QB. Russ had a fine game & the best I can remember no top QB in this county has gotten there with bad receivers. In the 2nd half it wasn't the lack of pride from the Mill Creek defense. The senior offense line for Dacula stepped it up and there pride got DHS back in the game. Why go to a rivalry game like this and bash a great effort by 2 great football programs.


LGF 4 years, 1 month ago

First off I must say that I agree with a little bit of everyone on here. Hurst pointed out 1 (one) penalty that was called against Dacula. Well I do agree with you that Mill Creek had some penalties that I agreed with, and some I didn't.Just like Dacula, they had to make things happen from them. Move on... Bufordguy made the statement that the defense has "no pride". Dacula had beat them the last 2 years in a row and the community was in the midst of a huge trash bashing on each other (in a typical RIVALRY way). Can't blame the players when intensity, pride, belief, and sheer determination to win gets them a penalty. That's why you make most of them in the beginning against your non-region schools, get it out of your blood and play the more perfect game against the teams that effect your standings in your region. Lastly, John Russ is an excellent quarterback, a big leader, and a great, great kid. This player has more integrity than a lot of grown men I know. I can promise you if he were in your shoes and he in yours. He most certainly would not have went on a publication and trashed an 18 year old kid in his first game of a huge Senior season he has more integrity than that.


1HawkDad 4 years, 1 month ago

Seriously, BufordGuy? Are you a grown man ripping on a teenager? Grow up! Russ is a fine young man who also happens to be a fine young quarterback. The fact is, the game was very sloppy on MC's part... 17 penalties is not good. I believe Coach Jarvis will take care of that today at practice with a some extra sprints. Let's look at it this way, it was MC's first game and they played a terrible second half of football, yet still managed to win. That is a good thing. Dacula came to play for sure and I give them a lot of credit for their determination. But time will prove that the Hawks are a solid team and I dare their Region opponents to take them lightly. Go Hawks!


FBFalcon 4 years, 1 month ago

Great to see the Hebron Christian transfer Matt Pursell do so well in his Mill Creek debut. What a way to make a statement!


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