Taj Griffin finished with 124 rushing yards and two TDs for the second-ranked Indians, who improved to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in Region 4AAAAAA despite committing 17 penalties for 161 yards.
“That team could end up winning the state championship, and we were right there with them,” Campbell coach Harris Rainbow said.
After trailing the Spartans (2-4, 0-4) for the entire first half, McEachern pulled even once again when the defense recovered a fumble by Mike Rogers. Clemons soon converted the mistake into points with a 49-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Rahming for a 28-all score.
“We just went through the Xs and Os at the half and said, ‘Let’s play football and do simple things better,’” McEachern coach Kyle Hockman said.
Instead of responding on its next possession, Campbell made another mistake when Ricky James had his pass picked off by Justin Pendleton.
Four plays and 60 yards later, Clemons put the Indians ahead for good with a 12-yard sprint to paydirt for a 35-28 edge with 5:23 left in the third.
After the defense forced Campbell to punt the ball away, Griffin added to the margin with a 64-yard TD run, giving McEachern a 14-point advantage with 19 seconds left in the frame.
James, however, kept the Spartans in it with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Chauncey Werah just seconds into the fourth quarter. Campbell then recovered its second onside kick of the game, but that possession ended with an incomplete pass at McEachern’s 4-yard line.
Clemons essentially sealed things on the Indians’ next possession, with a 95-yard sprint to the end zone on third down for a 49-35 lead with 6:24 to go.
“(On Friday), they might have had more talent, but we had a lot more heart,” Rainbow said. “The kids gave everything they got, and I’ve never been more proud to be their coach.”
Rogers had two rushing TDs, and James hooked up with Marlon Horne on a 91-yard scoring play for Campbell.
“Any time an offense can throw and run, it makes things tough,” Hockman said. “They did some good things. My hat goes off to coach Rainbow and his staff. They did a nice job.”