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Posted: Thursday, August 15th 2013 at 9:35am

Football 2013: Mill Creek reloading, ready for season

By Katie Davis Staff
EMAIL STORY CONTACT EDITOR PRINT

MILL CREEK: NEED TO KNOW


MASCOT: Hawks

TEAM COLORS: Vegas Gold, Navy Blue & Cardinal Red

CURRENT REGION: 7-AAAAAA

HEAD COACH/RECORD AT SCHOOL: Shannon Jarvis, 10th year, 47-50

2012 RECORD/ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 9-4, Class AAAAAA quarterfinalist

KEY LOSSES: RB Jacorey Lewis, WR Matt Pursell, WR Michael Cheeks, OL Matt Kopp, OL John Troutman, DL Kelsey Griffin, LB Brandon Holley, DB Brandon Harmon

OFFENSIVE STYLE: Pistol/Multiple -- Mill Creek will look to establish the run first in order to set up play action and short passing

KEY OFFENSIVE PLAYERS: Returns 7 starters -- Sr. RB DeVozea Felton, Jr. QB Daniel David, Jr. OL Kaleb Kim, Sr. RB Carter Governale, Jr. OL Josh Fannin, Jr. RB Jonathon Hawkins, Sr. FB Andrew Sciara

DEFENSIVE STYLE: 3-4 -- the Hawks, led by linebackers Michael Leonard and Andrew Sciara, like to play an uptempo style of defense that attacks the ball and blitzes

KEY DEFENSIVE PLAYERS: Returns 6 starters -- Sr. OLB Michael Leonard, Sr. DB DeVozea Felton, Sr. LB Andrew Sciara, Sr. DB Keanu James, Jr. DB Zac Turner, Jr. DB Chris Dickhute, Sr. DB Carter Governale, Jr. LB Jonathon Hawkins

SPECIAL TEAMS: Jr. P Jake Richards, Jr. PK Bryson King

STRENGTH: Overall experience -- It is Mill Creek's greatest strength, as the Hawks return 7 offensive and 6 defensive starters, including a quarterback that threw for more than 1,800 yards and their top two tacklers from 2012 in Leonard and Sciara

QUESTION: Receivers/offensive line -- Having had to replace its entire receiving corps and three offensive lineman due to graduation, will the lack of experience up front allow for a stout enough running game; and should it, will the new crop of receivers be able to come through for David?

KEY GAMES: Norcross and North Gwinnett. Mill Creek hasn't beaten Norcross or North Gwinnett since the program started, and with a region title on its mind, getting through the top two teams in its region year in and year out is key.

TRENDING: Mill Creek turned the ball over too many times in too many big games and too many critical situations last year. The Hawks had a positive turnover margin for the season, a negative turnover margin in three of their four losses. Protecting the ball will go a long way towards ensuring success for the 2013 team.

2013 SCHEDULE
Aug. 30 at Dacula
Sept. 6 vs. Brookwood
Sept. 13 at Mountain View
Sept. 20 vs. Peachtree Ridge
Sept. 27 at Norcross
Oct. 4 vs. Meadowcreek
Oct. 11 at North Gwinnett
Oct. 18 vs. Duluth
Nov. 1 at Habersham Central
Nov. 8 at Collins Hill
HOSCHTON – The story of Mill Creek’s 2013 team is familiar: a lot lost, a lot returning.

The question of Mill Creek’s 2013 team is whether or not the latter will translate to wins.

Gone is the team’s –- and Gwinnett County’s –- leading rusher from a year ago, Jacorey Lewis, but returning is starting quarterback Daniel David, who threw for more than 1,800 yards while completing 57 percent of his passes.

“(David) was, quite frankly, pressed into duty a little sooner than we thought, but he went in a did a great job starting off and really played much better than we expected early,” said Shannon Jarvis, who is entering his 10th season as head coach at Mill Creek. “By the end of the year, he was playing very well for us and a lot of what we’re going to do offensively this season revolves around him.”

A lot of what the Hawks do offensively also revolves around a power running game out of the pistol that will, in turn, open up the passing game, and that responsibility will fall on DeVozea Felton, Carter Governale, Jordain Sylvain, transfer Johnathan Hawkins and returning starter at fullback Andrew Sciara.

Felton ran for 798 yards last season and seven touchdowns, while Governale started his sophomore year, but is returning from an ACL injury that kept him out of the 2012 campaign.

“We like play-action passing and short passing, but we have to establish the run first and those guys are going to be focal points for us,” Jarvis said.

Two potential problem spots for Mill Creek are at the receiver positions and the offensive line. Lost to graduation are four of last year’s top-five receivers and all but two offensive lineman -- although the backups of those lost got ample playing time.

“Our O-line is still going to be strong,” said Jarvis, “despite returning only two starters. We have some younger guys at the receiver spots, and we really need those guys to step up.”

Kaleb Kim and Josh Fannin will anchor the offensive line. Felton, who is the team’s leading returning receiver and rusher, will be the elder statesman for the new crop of receivers.

“We’re very encouraged about the returning starters and experience offensively as well as defensively,” Jarvis said.

Leading tackler from 2012, outside linebacker Michael Leonard (111 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 1 fumble recover) returns as does Sciara, who had 89 tackles last season.

“Andrew Sciara is our unquestioned lead on defense,” said Jarvis, “he’s a tremendous player for us and having him back is essentially like having a quarterback returning. He knows our defense in and out and has done a great job getting the new guys in the right place.

“Michael (Leonard) is a playmaker for us, he’s just so explosive,” Jarvis continued. “He and Andrew are a great compliment to each other defensively.”

Seniors Ben Otiwu and Darnell Augustin will also be looked at to lead the defense, along with several key players returning in the secondary in starters Keanu James, a senior, and juniors Chris Dickhute and Zac Turner.

Special teams will be led by junior punter Jake Richards and junior kicker Bryson King, who hit 63 of 65 extra points and three of four field goals a year ago.

Mill Creek opens with Dacula and Brookwood before beginning an eight-game gauntlet known as Region 7-AAAAAA play.

“Of course Norcross and North Gwinnett jump off the page,” Jarvis said, “but you can lose to any team any give night (in this region). You can’t have a lot of ups and downs in the season and the teams who ultimately have the most success are the ones able to be consistent night in and night out on both sides of the ball.

“In our regular season, it’s playoff competition every time you play.”
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