“We just came together after all of the success that all of the schools had last year,” Walton coach Rocky Hidalgo said. “We just want to showcase some of the best schools in Cobb County. There were discussions to include more teams, but we couldn’t make it work. So, there was only two (games).
“(McEachern athletic director) Jimmy Dorsey was instrumental in making this happen. It’s a great idea. I wish I could tell you I came up with it, but I
didn’t. This is about us showing what we have to the state of Georgia. It’s going to be a great night.”
If the Corky Kell Classic is any indication, it could be another chance to be the Tyren Jones show. Against Brookwood, he piled up five touchdowns and 309 yards rushing.
“He’s an X-Man,” Hidalgo said earlier this week. “He’s superhuman. I don’t have anything to tell you other than they need to test whether or not he has some mutant genes in him. Normal people can’t do the things that he does. Normal people’s bodies can’t stand the G-forces that he can. He’s a great kid on top of all of that. He’s great to coach.”
Throughout last season, Jones was similarly difficult to stop. Opposing defenses have certainly made efforts to bring more players closer to the line of scrimmage in order to stop the run, but Walton has also shown an ability to throw the football when opposing defenses bring players to the line of scrimmage to try and stop the run.
So, what does McEachern have to do in order to slow the Raiders down?
“They’re scary,” McEachern coach Kyle Hockman said. “Offensively, the two linemen, running back and quarterback — they have dominating players the four most key positions and utilize them really, really well and kind of put you in a bind if you are overplay one side or one guy.
“Formationally, they can dictate what the defense does. If you crowd the line, they do have a good quarterback and darn good receivers and tight ends. They force you to play balanced and pretty basic. If you overplay anything, they’re going to take advantage of it and take it to the next part that will hurt you.”
Hockman added that his defense would likely not change anything that it normally does in a non-region game. More than focusing on trying to stop Walton offensively, he said the Indians will worry about ball control.
For Walton, the one point of emphasis coming out of its win over Brookwood at the Georgia Dome was an effort to improve its run defense.
“We felt good about our ability to get to the quarterback,” Hidalgo said. “It was our run defense that we were a little worried about. Defensively, we will have to continue to grow and improve. They are still learning what to do and how to do it. Over the course of the season, they will continue to get better.
“Offensively, (McEachern is) not nearly as straight forward as Brookwood. They are very good on offense. They might be the best offensive team we face all year long. They have tremendous athletes at every position, and they are a lot to handle.”
However, one of the Indians’ top offensive threats may not start tonight. North Cobb transfer Ty Griffin sprained his ankle within the first two offensive series against Grayson and is day-to-day. Hockman said that with a bye week coming up, Griffin might play some role in McEachern’s offense tonight though.
Even still, that leaves Ty Clemons with the bulk of the work at quarterback. Against Brookwood, he finished with 210 total yards (102 rushing, 108 passing), while he completed 9 of 16 passes.
“Clemons played well and made really good decisions, but had one interception,” Hockman said. “It was probably a tough call for him, and he threw it a little early. More of the game plan will be on him, but he’s capable of handling it.”