SUWANEE — Collins Hill’s final offensive play Friday night was a deflected pass that Mill Creek defensive lineman Noah Allen grabbed for an interception.
It was a fitting end to a defensive masterpiece for the eighth-ranked Hawks.
Mill Creek stifled Collins Hill in a 24-7 victory, clinching the No. 2 seed in Region 6-AAAAAAA and locking up a first-round home game in the Class AAAAAAA state playoffs — their sixth straight season hosting the state opener. Only a fumbled punt that gave Collins Hill deep field position prevented a shutout for the Hawks, whose first-round opponent will be Newton.
Ronald Clarke and Caleb Downs also intercepted passes for Mill Creek (8-2, 5-1 region), which got two turnovers on fumble recoveries in its sixth straight win over Collins Hill.
“It’s huge to be home,” first-year Mill Creek head coach Josh Lovelady said. “To end with a game like this, it’s a region game No. 1. But Collins Hill, they played a tough schedule all year long. They’re great. They’ve got so many weapons and they’ve had so many shutouts on defense. We knew we had a huge task in front of us. We had to come out there and execute. Tip your hat to Collins Hill, they just kept on. It felt like a slugfest. It had the intense feel of a playoff game.”
Collins Hill (6-4, 4-2) was held to 16 rushing yards, and quarterback Sam Horn was 16 of 34 passing for 140 yards (well off his average of 222) with three interceptions. He had thrown just two interceptions in the Eagles’ first nine games.
Mill Creek only sacked Horn once, but pressured him with blitzes all night. Defensive lineman Kobe Roberts tipped three passes, leading the way.
“It was a great performance, a lot of turnovers, a lot of momentum changes in the game,” Mill Creek linebacker R.J. Smith said. “They came out really fast and they were getting us for a little bit (in the first half), popping the passes quick. We got a turnover, an interception, and after that we just ran with it. We had to keep them down. We had a lot of adversity with the flags. It was a great team win tonight. The defense did outstanding, so did the offens