POWDER SPRINGS — McEachern coach Franklin Stephens knows his team has two offensive stars, and he wanted to give them a shot.
On a fourth-and-22 play late in the first half, Stephens gave senior quarterback Bryce Archie the chance. and he hit fellow senior Kaleb Webb on a back-shoulder pass that allowed Webb to fall just inside the pylon and score one of his four first-half touchdowns in a 42-14 win over archrival Hillgrove in the “Battle Down in Powder Town” at Walter Cantrell Stadium.
“It felt amazing,” Webb said. “It’s a rivalry game, so we wanted to come out and make a statement.”
The game started about as well as possible for McEachern (2-2) as it jumped out to a 22-0 lead in the game’s first 4 minutes with the first of two 28-yard touchdown passes from Archie to Webb, followed by a safety when Kadean Jones closed in on Hillgrove’s quarterback, who grounded the ball in the end zone.
“First half, we couldn’t have played any better,” Archie said. “Everybody was solid and came out ready to play and performed.”
Webb then took over again, returning a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and later picking up a punt that was rolling across the turf and returning it 85 yards for a score.
Webb also nearly returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown as well, but he was tackled by Hillgrove’s kicker at the 50-yard line, leading up to his first receiving score.
“Last spring, when he was in track, we tried to tell everybody we could, college coaches, that we had this kid who was about to blossom,” Stephens said. “We knew it was coming and now it’s one of those things where now you can see the byproduct of all the hard work that he’s put in over the past couple months.”
Webb finished with 80 yards on three catches with the two receiving scores from Archie, who was 6-of-7 for 98 yards before being relieved.
“He’s always been that guy, and now he’s in our offense, and we’re using him,” Archie said of Webb.
After McEachern extended the lead to 42-0 on a 17-yard run from Shamar Hall midway through the second quarter, the Indians got the bench involved for the remainder of the game.
Hillgrove (0-3) added two long Sean Cooper touchdown runs in the second half for its points.
Cooper scored on 47- and 68-yard runs and finished with 139 yards on 10 carries to lead all rushers.
The 28-point margin of victory was the largest for either team in the 12-year history of the Powder Springs rivalry. Previously, the most lopsided game was McEachern’s 47-23 win in 2016.