Mill Creek continued to put forth evidence that it is a serious contender for the Class 7A championship.

The No. 4-ranked Hawks used a multi-faceted offense, an opportunistic defense and some quality special teams play to defeat No. 7 Parkview 40-17 on Friday at Markham Field.

“I still think there’s room for growth when you’ve got a region like us,” Mill Creek coach Josh Lovelady said. “You better clean up some of the things you can clean up. You know, guard your strengths and work on your weaknesses.”

The Hawks (5-0) continue to pile up the points. They have scored 40-plus points in each game behind quarterback Hayden Clark, a two-way threat who threw for 110 yards and one touchdown and ran for 49 yards, and the running back team of Cam Robinson and Kevin Mitchell.

Robinson carried 22 times for 198 yards and two touchdowns and Mitchell ran six times for 82 yards and one touchdown.

“Cam is a kid that has great vision,” Lovelady said. “He can cut, he can get into space, he’s an ever-down back because he can protect, he can block. He’s one of those guys who is true to our system as far as waiting for his time and he’s taken advantage. And with Kevin Mitchell, they’re like 1-A and 1-B … he came in there and relieved him. And our offensive line did a great job. They were really making some holes.”

It wasn’t easy. Mill Creek was limited to a 21-yard Jacob Ulrich field goal on its first drive and Parkview responded with a touchdown drive capped by a 9-yard pass from Colin Houck to Carson Williams.

Mill Creek punted on its next possession and pinned the Panthers at the 1-yard line. But on the first play, Houck found Mike Matthews for a 99-yard touchdown pass and a 14-3 lead.

That’s when Mill Creek responded with four unanswered touchdowns – a 18-yard pass from Clark to Makhail Wood, a 9-yard run by Robinson, a 2-yard run by Caleb Downs and a 10-yard run by Robinson.

The Downs touchdown was particularly hurtful to Parkview. The Panthers opted to go for a first down on fourth-and-2 at the 17 and came up empty. Mill Creek scored five plays later, with Robinson picking up 70 yards on three carries during the drive.

“It was a huge swing, not only on the scoreboard but also a little bit of momentum,” Lovelady said. “They had a big swing in the first half after we pin them at 1 yard line. When it came back, it was huge to have that stop and the score right behind it.”

The Mill Creek defense came up with a pair of interceptions – one from Justin Content, the other from Downs, the 18th of his career. Jaden Patterson recovered a fumbled punt, but the Hawks could not capitalize on that turnover.

Parkview (4-1) running back Khyair Spain was a workhorse with 22 carries for 108 yards and Houck threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns. Matthews caught five passes for 181 yards and one touchdown and Carson Wilson caught five passes for 61 yards and one touchdown.

Mill Creek opens Region 8 play next week against undefeated Central Gwinnett, then has a date with No. 1-ranked Buford on Oct. 14 and defending state champion Collins Hill on Oct. 21. Parkview opens Region 4 play on Friday against South Gwinnett. It will be the first home game for the Panthers, who were road warriors while new field turf was installed at the Big Orange Jungle.