“I guarantee you he had more than 100 snaps,” Mill Creek coach Josh Lovelady said. “He’s in tremendous shape. He plays both sides of the ball. He’s our Alpha. Excited for him to have that moment.”
With a showdown against No. 1 Buford only two weeks ago, the reigning state champion Hawks (5-0) needed another big win on their resume, Lovelady said.
“I told them in the pregame this is a defining game,” Lovelady said. “Where we’re at, this 2023 season, you go against a team that on paper they’ve got 12 Division 1 players. This was really a defining game, this is big-boy football and they answered the call.”
Mill Creek took a 16-13 lead on a 32-yard field goal from Brady Lane with 58 seconds left in the third quarter and went ahead 23-13 after Parkview muffed a punt and Demarko Lawler recovered. Four plays later Cam Robinson scored on a 3-yard run with 6:12 left.
Parkview made it interesting by quickly driving for a score, getting a 29-yard touchdown pass from Jaiden Jenkins to Carson Wilson with 5:16 left. But Mill Creek put away any notion of a comeback with Greco’s touchdown.
Mill Creek was led by Robinson, who ran 23 times for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Throgmartin completed 11 of 17 for 165 yards and one touchdown, but had two interceptions. Greco caught three passes for 60 yards and one touchdown and Justin Content caught three passes for 77 yards. Lane kicked three field goals.
Parkview (4-1) was led offensively by running back Trelain Maddox, who carried 10 times for 102 yards and two touchdowns and caught a 48-yard pass. Jenkins completed 12 of 26 passes for 152 yards and one touchdown. Wilson caught six passes for 91 yards and Mike Matthews had six receptions for 62 yards. The Panthers defensive star was Jalyn Crawford with two interceptions.
“I kept thinking when are we going to catch a break,” Lovelady said. “We kept taking points off the board with penalties or whatever. And when we got a break (the muffed punt) we were positioned to make a play and take advantage of it.”
The teams were tied 13-13 at halftime.
Parkview took the opening kickoff and scored on a 17-yard run from Maddox, but the extra point was missed, leaving the Panthers ahead 6-0.
Mill Creek immediately answered with Robinson slashing through the line and running for a 34-yard touchdown. Brady Lane’s extra point put Mill Creek ahead 7-6 at 6:56.
The teams exchanged fumbles, with Matthews recovering for Parkview and Bryce Conway recovering for Mill Creek. The Hawks turned their takeaway into points with Brady kicking a 45-yard field goal for a 10-6 lead.
Parkview denied Mill Creek another scoring opportunity when Jalyn Crawford intercepted a deep ball at the 5. Despite being backed up, the Panthers used a 35-yard run from Maddox to reach Mill Creek territory. But Parkview quarterback Jaiden Jenkins had to leave the game after having his helmet come off with a vicious sack.
Cooper Frank entered the game on third-and 18 and hit Maddox for a 40-yard gain. Three plays later he fired a strike to Matthews for a 10-yard touchdown and a 13-10 lead.
Mill Creek drove to tie the game with eight seconds left in the half on Lane’s 26-yard field goal.