Archer and fourth-ranked McEachern weren’t exactly in midseason form when they met in the final game of the Corky Kell Classic on Saturday at the Georgia Dome.
McEachern, however, eventually found its footing after an incredibly sloppy first 12 minutes by both teams and went on to a 27-14 victory in the teams’ season-opener, which was a rematch of their 2015 Class AAAAAA second-round playoff game, won by Archer 24-21.
The first quarter alone featured a kickoff out of bounds, a missed field goal by Archer, two fumbles and nine penalties for 56 yards in losses. And the teams combined for just two first downs (one each), 34 yards of total offense (24 by McEachern), and six plays (out of 24) that gained more than 2 yards.
Even when things seemed to be picking up offensively, the penalty flags came out again. On the first play of the second quarter, McEachern’s Bailey Hockman threw a 53-yard pass to Brandon Smith for what appeared to be the game’s first touchdown, but a holding penalty wiped out the play and the Indians were forced to punt.
McEachern finally began to assert control later in the quarter. Two touchdown passes from Hockman to Tyler Smith, covering 16 and 6 yards, on consecutive possessions gave the Indians a 13-0 lead.
Archer closed the gap to 13-7 when Tyler Rankin returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown with 1:10 to play before halftime, but the Indians’ Jaytlin Askew answered with a 99-yard return on the following kickoff to restore the lead to 20-7.
McEachern’s Quay Holmes and Archer’s Keegan Strickland had short touchdown runs in the second half, and Archer never got closer than the 13-point final margin.
McEachern finished the game with a 236-182 advantage in total offense. Hockman was 14-for-23 passing for 153 yards. Tyler Smith had eight receptions for 82 yards, and Holmes was the game’s leading rusher with 69 yards on 15 carries.
Archer quarterback Braylen Weems was 14-for-21 passing for 116 yards. He was sacked three times and threw an interception. Singleton rushed for 47 yards on 15 carries.
The teams combined for 27 penalties that resulted in 231 yards in losses. McEachern had the majority of those, with 19 for 153 yards.
The Indians’ victory gave Cobb County teams a 3-1 record in the Corky Kell Classic, following victories by Hillgrove and Kell and a loss by Walton. McEachern has next week off in preparation for its Sept. 2 showdown at home against top-ranked Grayson.
Archer plays at Peachtree Ridge on Friday.
Archer – 0-7-7-0 – 14
McEachern – 0-20-7-0 – 27
M – Tyler Smith 16 pass from Bailey Hockman (Giovanni Dominguez kick)
M – Smith 6 pass from Hockman (kick failed)
A – Tyler Ranel 85 kickoff return (Michael Johnson kick)
M – Jaytlin Askew 99 kickoff return (Dominguez kick)
M – Quay Holmes 5 run (Dominguez kick)
A – Keegan Strickland 3 run (Johnson kick)