HOSCHTON — When Mill Creek’s football team forced a punt with barely more than a minute left in Friday night’s game with West Forsyth, the offense needed a heroic drive to pull out a win.
Khamari Glover rendered that unnecessary.
The senior fielded West Forsyth’s punt and returned it 75 yards for the game-winning touchdown with 55 seconds left, sending the Hawks’ sideline and home crowd into a frenzy on Senior Night.
“It was electric. It was very electric,” Mill Creek head coach Josh Lovelady said of the sideline reaction during and after Glover’s decisive punt return. “Khamari is such a great athlete in space. He’s a difference-maker. We’ve been close (to breaking a return TD). I think he had 100 (return) yards at Brookwood (the previous week). We were close on a few things.
“He popped a couple (of big returns) tonight. We had one long return called back for a penalty. But on that last one, the sideline went crazy.”
The special teams play rescued Mill Creek (2-1) in a game when it didn’t score an offensive touchdown. Its only other points came in the first quarter when Caleb Downs returned an interception 73 yards for a score.
“It was great to see our defense bow their backs, and score points from Caleb, and our special teams flip the field several times and in the end there win it for us,” Lovelady said. “To not score a touchdown (on offense) and win the game, that was big. They picked it up for the offense.”
West Forsyth matched Downs’ score with a 65-yard TD pass from Ashton Van Horn to Oscar Delp later in the opening quarter. A 23-yard field goal from Brock Pellegrino late in the first quarter gave the Hawks the lead back, and it grew to 13-7 before halftime when Pellegrino converted a 27-yard field goal.
West Forsyth regained the lead with 8:44 left in the third quarter when Van Horn found the 6-foot-5 Delp for a 54-yard TD. Delp had 208 receiving yards, nearly all of Van Horn’s 246 passing yards.
Mill Creek’s defense held West Forsyth to a field goal early in the fourth quarter, keeping the game close for Glover’s game-winning return.
The Hawks struggled to find success offensively. Josh Battle rushed 12 times for 34 yards, and Hayden Clark threw for 93 yards, 69 on one pass to Zekai Wimby.
Mill Creek 20, West Forsyth 17
West Forsyth 7 0 7 3 — 17
Mill Creek 10 3 0 7 — 20
Mill Creek: Caleb Downs 73 interception return (Brock Pellegrino kick) 5:19
West Forsyth: Oscar Delp 65 pass from Ashton Van Horn (Alex Wilson kick) 2:00
Mill Creek: Pellegrino 23 FG, :02
Mill Creek: Pellegrino 27 FG, :07
West Forsyth: Delp 54 pass from Van Horn (Wilson kick) 8:44
West Forsyth: Wilson 37 FG, 9:05
Mill Creek: Khamari Glover 75 punt return (Pellegrino kick) :55