Quarterback Ty Clemons completed 10 of 12 passes for 216 yards and two interceptions, and he rushed 10 times for 140. He also connected with T.J. Rahming on three first-half touchdown passes as the second-ranked Indians scored 23 unanswered second-quarter points, en route to a 30-9 halftime advantage.
Rahming had scoring receptions of 80, 54 and 20 yards. They were his only catches of the night.
Alizee Chubbs took over in the second half, rushing 17 times for 87 yards and two touchdowns to help McEachern (4-0, 2-0 Region 4AAAAAA) remain undefeated on the season.
“Obviously, McEachern is an exceptionally talented team,” Marietta coach Scott Burton said. “They have size, speed and they’re well-coached. They can win without any help.
“We had some breakdowns and self-inflicted wounds throughout the game. (McEachern is) too talented to give them that kind of help.”
The defenses played key roles early as both teams turned the ball over on their first possessions and punted on their next drives.
Then came the big plays.
Marietta quarterback Brenton Martin connected with Jordan Mathis for a 31-yard touchdown that gave the Blue Devils (2-2, 0-2) the edge. But the Indians answered right back as Clemons found Rahming in stride behind the defense for the 80-yard score.
Ian Shannon’s 47-yard punt backed McEachern up inside its 5-yard line, and the Blue Devils’ defense came up with a safety to move ahead 9-7 with 3:19 left in the first quarter.
Marietta never led again.
On McEachern’s first possession of the second quarter, Clemons optioned to Taj Griffin, who ran in for a 30-yard touchdown and 14-9 lead.
Penalties on the next drive backed Marietta to its own 1-yard line, and a high snap over Martin’s head resulted in the ball going out the back of the end zone for a safety, putting McEachern in front 16-9.
Following the kickoff, Clemons found Rahming open again behind the defense for a 54-yard touchdown toss, capping a two-play, 61-yard drive.
Marietta elected to punt again on its next possession, and McEachern responded with a 10-play, 91-yard drive that ended with Clemons finding Rahming on the right side for a 20-yard touchdown. Rahming got a key block 15 yards from the end zone and waltzed in for the score with 21 seconds remaining until halftime.
The drive took 3:37 off the clock and the Indians completed two key third-down conversions. McEachern’s final five plays on the possession when for 13, 11, 19, 17 and 20 yards.
Marietta had 15 yards of offense in the second quarter, compared to 219 for McEachern.
“We had some big plays in there,” McEachern coach Kyle Hockman said. “I think our defense was able to wear them down some and, offensively, we felt like there were some things we could do to get ourselves going, and they worked out.”
The teams traded touchdowns in the second half. Marietta capped its 11-play, 49-yard opening drive with a 1-yard touchdown run from Martin.
McEachern answered behind Clemons’ 65-yard scamper that set up Chubbs for a 3-yard rushing score.
Prior to Chubbs’ touchdown, Clemons’ helmet was dislodged on a run, and he left the game.
Hockman said Clemons would be further evaluated.
“We don’t think it is a concussion, but he had a head-type injury,” Hockman said, “so we took him out of the game because we didn’t want any further injury to him.”
Martin converted a 12-yard fourth-down reception to Marcus Bennett on the Blue Devils’ ensuing drive and rewarded his senior receiver with a 12-yard touchdown pass three plays later that pulled Marietta to within 37-23 with 11:12 left in the game.
Marietta linebacker Tyrell Tomlin was injured during the drive — Burton declined to discuss the senior’s injury after the game — which made it a little easier for McEachern to march down the field and score again. With Tomlin on the sideline, the Indians went 80 yards on 12 consecutive running plays and chewed roughly 7 minutes off the clock before Chubbs found the end zone again from 4 yards out.
The point-after attempt was blocked, however, leaving McEachern in front 43-23.
Marietta’s final score, a 49-yard pass from Martin to Mathis with 1:45 on the clock, resulted in the final score.
KirVonte’ Benson rushed 27 times for 130 yards for Marietta, while Martin was 14-of-19 for 159 yards and three touchdowns. Mathis had six catches for 92 yards and two scores, and Bennett had four receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown.
“Marietta’s a good ball club, and Burton’s doing a great job there,” Hockman said. “This was a battle and it was a big win for us here.”