DALLAS – McEachern completed its first undefeated regular season in 10 years with a 49-19 victory over North Paulding in a Region 3AAAAAAA contest Friday.
The Indians jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back to finish a perfect 5-0 in Region 3AAAAAAA, giving them their first perfect record since 2009.
“We’re excited about (finishing the regular season undefeated)” McEachern coach Franklin Stephens said. “That’s nothing that we were set on at the beginning of the season. We just wanted to make it to (the playoffs) and win the region. However, after we won the region, we were sitting there at 8-0 and we decided, let’s finish this thing.
It appeared McEachern was on the verge of losing its big early lead in the second quarter as North Paulding (6-4, 1-4) –aided by six Indians penalties – cut the lead to 21-12.
The Indians responded by outscoring the Wolfpack 28-7 the rest of the game.
“Give our guys some credit, we lost some momentum for a minute and they were able to seize it back from North Paulding,” Stephens said. “We came out in the second half and we were able to finish the game.”
Bryce Archie, who came in for the injured Carlos Del Rio-Wilson late in the first half, completed all nine of his passes for 227 yards and threw for four touchdowns, while Jordon Simmons rushed for 158 yards on 18 carries and a score to lead the Indians.
McEachern forced North Paulding to punt on the first series of the game and then wasted no time as Simmons ran 84 yards for a touchdown on the first play with 6:39 remaining in the first quarter. Archie ran the ball into the end zone for a 2-point conversion to give the Indians an 8-0 lead.
North Paulding had to punt again when it got the ball back and McEachern made the Wolfpack pay heavily for that as Del Rio-Wilson threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Simmons on the Indians’ second play of the drive to make it 15-0.
McEachern increased its lead to 21-0 with 57 seconds left in the first quarter when Christian Mason scored on a 29-yard run.
North Paulding got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter as it took advantage of three McEachern penalties on its scoring drive and finished it off with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Garrett Creasy to Tanner Bentley to cut the lead to 21-6.
A McEachern turnover resulted in the next North Paulding score as Silas Feild picked up Del Rio-Wilson’s fumble and ran it back 20 yards for a touchdown with 1:14 left to make it 21-12.
However, McEachern bounced back to score on the final play of the first half as Archie threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Dacari Collins to make it 28-12 and the Indians continued to pull further away in the second half.