No. 6 North Gwinnett's dreams of an undefeated season nearly came to a screeching halt on Friday against Mill Creek (Hoschton, Ga.)
Thanks to 22 unanswered points in the second half, highlighted by a successful hook-and-ladder touchdown, North Gwinnett (Suwanee, Ga.)
came from behind to prevail 50-47 in one of the wildest games of the season.
Trailing 47-28 at the start of the fourth quarter, Hayden Sphire
hit Nate Brown
for his fourth touchdown grab of the night to make the score 47-36 with five minutes remaining.
North Gwinnett attempted an onside kick but was unsuccessful. However, just moments later, North Gwinnett recovered a fumble. That set up Sphire's hook-and-ladder pass that allowed
to sprint down the sideline for a 51-yard score.
With momentum in its favor, North Gwinnett attempted its second onside kick of the night. This time North Gwinnett decisively recovered with three minutes remaining, trailing 47-42.
At that point, it seemed as if North Gwinnett could not be stopped. Running back C.J. Leggett
marched down the field and eventually dragged tacklers into the end zone. A successful two-point conversion gave Gwinnett a 50-47 lead, its first lead since early in the second quarter.
On Mill Creek's ensuing possession, it was the North Gwinnett defense that finally came up big, forcing a turnover on downs, sealing an incredible victory for the nation's No. 6 squad.
At the start of the game, it seemed like North Gwinnett was on its way to another easy victory as it cruised to a 14-0 lead in front of its home crowd.
Mill Creek dominated the remainder of the first half, however, and took a 34-14 lead into halftime following a last-second field goal to close the second quarter.
The teams traded touchdowns twice in the third quarter, setting the stage for North Gwinnett's dramatic fourth-quarter comeback — one that even stunned the local television announcers who, called Mill Creek's final touchdown the nail in the coffin.
With the win, North Gwinnett remains unbeaten, though showdowns with Collins Hill and Peachtree Ridge loom in the coming weeks.