The Indians (5-2, 5-0 Region 4AAAAAA) have primarily been a passing team over the last couple of seasons, taking advantage of the skills of quarterbacks Trent Thompson and Dondre Purnell, but this year they entered the season with a younger team and discovered they can win games by running the football.
McEachern’s ground attack has helped the Indians win five straight games. It has used the services of four different runners — Ty Griffin, Ty Clemons, Taj Griffin and Mike Sherman — who each get significant touches in a single game and have more than 425 rushing yards apiece.
That’s not expected to change when McEachern goes up against North Cobb tonight at Walter Cantrell Stadium for a shot to take complete control of Region 4AAAAAA.
McEachern’s coaches and players also know its running game wouldn’t be possible without their offensive line — anchored by Maryland commitment Jujuan Dulaney, Demetrius Garner, Sherrod Pittman, Travis Fair and Chuma Edoga.
“We have a great offensive line, first of all,” McEachern coach Kyle Hockman said. “They’ve been doing a great job blocking and scheming. That’s where it all starts. I’m proud of how they are performing. We knew at the beginning of the season that they would be the backbone of our squad.”
Ty Griffin, a transfer from North Cobb, leads the pack or runners with 568 yards and made a lot of noise when he ran for 238 yards in McEachern’s 42-28 victory over previously undefeated South Cobb last Friday. Ty Clemons has 520 rushing yards for the Indians. Taj Griffin has 441 and Mike Sherman has 426.
Ty Griffin, who is described by Hockman as both fast and physical, scored four touchdowns against South Cobb. All four were from more than 20 yards out.
Ty Clemons added two more scores and finished with 87 yards on the ground against South Cobb while Taj Griffin finished with 97 yards and Sherman added 90.
North Cobb’s objective is to contain the foursome. The Warriors (5-1, 3-1) did well in pressuring Hillgrove last week en route to a 41-14 win with defensive lineman Eghosa Agbonghae and linebacker Jali Kuku constantly wreaking havoc in the backfield.
“(McEachern) is like a 4X100 track team every time they touch the ball,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. They got some cats back there who can sprint. We’re going to have to find a way to contain them and make them drive the length of the field and make plays on defense.”
While McEachern has been primarily a running team, North Cobb has shown it can do both.
After struggling on the ground in its only loss of the season to South Cobb two weeks ago, quarterback Tyler Queen led the offense with his feet by rushing for 132 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns.
In previous North Cobb wins, the Warriors have been an effective passing team led by receiver Xavier Borishade, who has 415 yards receiving and six touchdowns on the season.
We won’t know how many people line up against our spread (offense). We’ll go over our game plan and try to be balanced,” Shane Queen said. “It will depend on how they line up against you.”
Against McEachern, the Warriors will have both options to their disposal.