The season of firsts for the Meadowcreek Mustangs continued Friday night at Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville.
Trailing or tied for the majority of the game, the Mustangs earned their first-ever win in program history over the Black Knights and improved to 7-1 on the season with a 41-34 win. Running back Chauncey Williams led the Meadowcreek offense and rushed for 353 yards.
The Black Knights fall to 5-4 overall, and their 2-3 record in region play means the Knights will require some help to earn one of the playoff spots from Region 7-AAAAAAA.
The Mustangs, however, control their own destiny.
“It was so intense, the last minute,” Williams said. “My feelings are everywhere right now, I couldn’t even shed a tear.”
The game’s turning point was near the final four minutes of the game. With the game tied 34-34, Meadowcreek started its game-winning drive from its own 15-yard line. The Mustangs were stuffed on three plays and faced fourth-and-3 on their own 22 with just more than four minutes left. Instead of opting to punt head coach Jason Carrera opted to go for it, not wanting to give Central Gwinnett quarterback Jarren Williams the ball back with time left.
“You’re going against a Division I, SEC quarterback, you’d better make a first down,” Carrera said. “We put an extra blocker in the hole and had two of my best weight room guys with Chauncey behind them.”
The explosive Chauncey Williams dashed 50 yards to the Central 28. It took four more plays for him to find paydirt and give the Mustangs a 41-34 lead with less than two minutes left in the game.
“I was staying focus and running behind my line, trusting them,” Williams said. “They told me to stay patient. I saw what I could get, and the rest is history.”
Central took over at their 20-yard line. The Knights made it to their 45-yard line before a holding penalty pushed them all the way back to their 29 with 49 seconds left.
Jarren Williams, who was under duress from the Meadowcreek pass rush most of the night, managed to find Skylar Adams on a 33-yard completion to progress to the Meadowcreek 19-yard line with :09 seconds left. The first shot to the end zone was incomplete, and Jarren Williams didn’t have time to look downfield for the second shot. He scurried to the Meadowcreek 5-yard line before he was tackled and the Mustangs rushed the field.
“We didn’t protect well, we dropped the ball, you can’t win on offense like that,” Central coach Todd Wofford said.
When he felt comfortable in the pocket, Jarren Williams delivered. He was 28-for-46 with 365 yards passing with 2 TDs. Khamari Thompson was his favorite target with 13 catches for 152 yards, and he caught both passing TDs.
Chauncey Williams broke his personal single-game rushing mark of 318 yards he set against Duluth. Central Gwinnett’s Justin Wilkins also had a stellar night before he left on the final drive with a knee injury. Wilkins carried the ball 19 times for 174 yards and caught five passes for 45 yards.
The first half of scoring started at a torrid pace. The Black Knights used 11 plays to span 80 yards on their first drive, capped off by a 6-yard run from quarterback Jarren Williams.
After a pop-up kick set up Meadowcreek at the 25-yard line for their first drive Quvella Calhoun rumbled 48 yards to the Central 27 on his first carry. Two plays later, the Mustangs’ Chauncey Williams ran the ball in from 21 yards away to tie the game less than two minutes after Central’s first touchdown.
The Black Knights continued to rely on the arm of their 6-foot-2 University of Kentucky commit. Jarren Williams connected with Kameron King for a 50-yard reception on the first play of Central’s ensuing drive to set the Knights up inside the red zone. Running back Justin Wilkins found the end zone, tallying the third score within the first five minutes of the game.
Suddenly, both offenses struggled to move the football. The Mustangs provided a sufficient pass rush to distress Jarren Williams. At the 5:35 mark in the second quarter, in the midst of a scramble, he threw the ball in the direction of Calhoun, who intercepted the pass and returned it 70 yards to tie the game 14-14.
A penalty after the touchdown forced Meadowcreek to kick from their 35-yard line, handing Central Gwinnett prime field position. Under less pressure, Jarren WIlliams dissected the Mustangs’ secondary, first with a 13-yard completion to Jallah Zeze, finally with 19-yard catch-and-run to Khmari Thompson. The Knights entered the locker room with a 21-14 lead at halftime.
The season is far from over for the Mustangs, who will return home to host Parkview, searching for the program’s first win against the Panthers since 1991.
“School will be fun,” Carrera said. “I told them, ‘Walk in, poke your chest out, and go back to work on Monday.’”
MC 7 0 21 13 — 41
CG 14 0 14 6 — 34
Central — Jarren WIlliams 6 run (Edgar Godinez kick) 9:01
Meadowcreek — Chauncey Williams 21 run (Linares Christopher kick) 7:57
Central — Justin Wilkins 22 run (Godinez kick) 7:41
Meadowcreek — Quvella Calhoun 70 fumble return (Godinez kick) 5:35
Central — Khmari Thompson 19 pass from Williams (Christopher kick) 2:24
Meadowcreek — Williams 57 run (Christopher kick) 7:30
Meadowcreek — Quincey Bonner 5 run (Christopher kick) 3:55
Central — Thompson 29 pass from Williams (Godinez kick) :59
Meadowcreek — Williams 21 run (kick no good) 8:40
Central — Williams 12 run (kick no good) 6:22
Meadowcreek — Williams 1 run (Christopher kick) 1:52
First downs 12 20
Rushes-yards 45-451 36-233
Passing yards 0 365
Comp-att-INT 0-4-2 28-46-0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-2
Penalties-yards 10-69 15-108
RUSHING — MC: Chauncey WIlliams 34-353, Bonner 6-42, Javion Johnson 2-45, Calhoun 2-4, Howard 1-7; CG: WIlkins 19-174, Jarren Williams 17-59
PASSING — CG: Jarren Williams 28-46-0 365, MC: Bonner 0-4-2
RECEIVING — CG: Thompson 13-152, Skylar Adams 4-68, Kameron King 2-61, Wilkins 5-45, Jallah Zeze 2-29