The Packers’ Bull Barge came through with the interception on what turned out to be final play of the game, sealing a 30-28 win in the first round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs at Walter Cantrell Stadium.
McEachern (8-3) saw its season came to a quick end after it took an eight-game winning streak into the playoffs.
Colquitt County (8-3) moved on to play at Newnan in the second round next week.
McEachern had just over a minute to drive the length of the field, after starting at its own 2-yard line, and the Indians made it all the way to Colquitt territory before Barge came through with the interception of Ty Griffin’s pass.
“We had a post and an out, where (Griffin) had a choice, and they did a nice job covering both of them,” McEachern coach Kyle Hockman said. “We needed a good 12 to 15 yards to have a chance (for the field goal), and they covered it.”
McEachern’s biggest struggle was stopping the short passes. The Indians were constantly burned by screens that would go for double-digit yardage.
Colquitt quarterback Cole Seagraves was 19-of-25 for 345 yards that included a couple of lengthy completions, but it was the quickness of his receivers and the blocking of the offensive line that got the bulk of his passing yards.
Bobby Hill was Seagraves’ primary target with 161 yards on 10 catches.
With the Packers trailing by only four points late in the third quarter, Seagraves caught McEachern off-guard when he dumped a short pass to Todd Boyd that turned into a 52-yard touchdown.
That was the play that made it difficult for McEachern to rally and take the lead. The Indians did score twice in the fourth quarter on a pair of 4-yard runs by Griffin, and they converted a 2-point conversion on one of them.
But Colquitt County in front with a touchdown of its own — a 1-yard plunge by John Boatright.
“We worked all week on (covering the screen) and didn’t execute it very well,” Hockman said. “They executed, and I give them credit.”
The Indians led 10-7 after the first quarter, but it was Colquitt second-quarter performance that put it in front for good.
Boatright’s 1-yard score on fourth down with 8:35 left in the half gave the Packers the lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
A lengthy kick return by Kell Parham on the next play put McEachern at the Colquitt 45 and gave the Indians a chance to take the lead back, but they were stopped by the Packers on fourth down at the 25.
Both defenses held until Will Bannister booted a 28-yard field goal with 43 seconds left in the first half, ultimately giving Colquitt County a 17-10 lead at halftime.
Griffin and Ty Clemons combined for 145 passing yards for McEachern, and Griffin also led in rushing with 179 yards on 28 carries. Mike Sherman added 56 yards on seven carries, with most of his yardage coming in the second half.