Known for its attacking style of play, McEachern’s defense was disrupted by the ejection.
Jones, who ended up rushing for 329 yards en route to a 37-35 Walton victory over the Indians, sustained a bloody nose and was cleared to play in the second half.
But Parham, who is leading McEachern with 17 tackles, may not had been ejected had he not made a similar hit on Walton tight end Brad Green a few plays earlier. Green left the game with a bruised sternum.
The Indians (0-2), who lost to defending state champion Grayson prior to the Walton loss, carried a 20-17 lead into halftime over the Raiders despite the distraction. But Walton scored three touchdowns and a field goal on the Indians’ fatigued defense in the second half, capped by an Anthony Price 43-yard field goal to seal the victory.
With Parham’s ejection, he is not eligible to play in Friday’s Region 4AAAAAA opener at Pebblebrook. The Indians used their bye week to figure out different ways to play aggressively.
Coach Kyle Hockman said it hasn’t been easy.
“It’s not that I agree with the calls, but it’s a different game than it used to be and that’s the way life goes,” he said. “I think (Parham’s ejection) hurt us quite a bit. It takes the wind out of our sails as far as aggressiveness when they’re calling every crazy thing. Then again, it’s a different game we have to learn how to adapt to it.”
Hockman said he sent video to the officials after the game and requested guidelines on what to tell his players in situations like this one. He also took the common sense approach last week by stressing to his players not to make contact in the shoulder and head area.
As a counter measure to try and adjust to “a different game”, Hockman discussed gang tackling, or having two or three defenders bring the ball carrier down instead of one.
“Honestly, I don’t know what to tell Kell on the second hit (to Jones),” Hockman said. “If (Parham) is standing there and (Jones) is running at him at full speed, is he supposed to get out of the way? Is he supposed to go for the knee? What is he supposed to do?
“We also have to figure out a way (to defend) if teams throw down the middle at the teeth of our defense. Do we go for the ball more than the hit, things of that nature. It’s a challenge.”
McEachern is making slight adjustments in the secondary with Parham being out and Daryus Thompson recovering from a shoulder injury but still has confidence in its defensive unit going into 4AAAAAA play.
“The kids have been real upbeat and haven’t been down about things,” said defensive coordinator Bryan Minish on McEachern’s 0-2 start to the season. “Kids see the light at the end of the tunnel and know we’re not going to be facing teams like that every week. They also understand our region is very tough and they have to get ready.”
Henry Famurewa is having a great start at defensive end for the Indians with 15 tackles and Mackenzie Billingslea picking up where he left off up front after tearing his ACL last year against Pebblebrook.
Linebackers Michael Sherman and Christian Wade have 14 and 13 stops respectively for McEachern. Michael Williams, another secondary option for McEachern, has 10 tackles on the year.