Replacing talent usually isn’t a problem for McEachern.
Boasting one of the most successful teams in the state year-after-year the Indians always make way for the “next man up.”
McEachern is expected to field one of its youngest teams in recent memory for the 2020 season led by junior quarterback Bryce Archie and a deep, talented but inexperienced receiving corps.
“I can’t wait for this season,” Archie said. “We have a lot to prove and I just can’t wait.”
The 6-2, 175 pound quarterback threw for 543 yards and seven touchdowns in 2019. Archie also took care of the football throwing zero interceptions last season.
Following the 2019 season the Indians lost a large chunk of their passing game. Star receiver Javon Baker graduated and now plays at the University of Alabama, and quarterback Carlos Del Rio-Wilson and wide receiver Dacari Collins both transferred away. Second year coach Franklin Stephens said he knows how much he lost, but he is confident in those who will step in.
“The talent we lost at wide receiver is going to be hard to replace,” Stephens said. “But we plan on replacing that individual talent with a committee of talent.”
The big names stepping up this season at receiver will be Sutton Smith, Caleb Brown, and Johnmanuel Arnold, but this squad goes deeper than just the starters.
In 2019 Arnold, Brown and Smith were able to slowly work their way into the offense which gave them a taste of what is to come. Arnold led the trio in 2019 with 281 yards and two touchdowns. Smith and Brown both played small rolls but showed flashes of talent and ability. Although they may not have earned a three- or four-star rating yet, they are a confident group who have a chemistry most teams can only wish to create.
“That’s what is so special about us,” McEachern wide receiver Sutton Smith said. “We’ve got the chemistry, everyone is on the same page, and we are hungry to bring home the trophy.”
Archie and his up and coming pass catchers have played together for years since their time at Tapp Middle School, the feeder program for McEachern. With years of practice and game time together the group recalls one game as the moment when they really began to click.
In a 72-64 loss to Roswell, the future Indians’ offense was explosive and it seemed nobody could stop them.
“It was a shootout,” wide receiver Caleb Brown said. “Even though we lost, everything was clicking on offense and we knew we had found something special.”
Even though the chemistry was evident the boys knew they had a lot of work to put in before playing for such a prestigious program. The hard work put in off the field would be a key to their success.
“Bryce used to text us to meet him at the field and work even when we had an off day,” Brown said.” We all try to push each other to be better.”
Ever since those days at Tapp the group has been practicing together non-stop. They have all been looking forward to the day when they would get their chance and it is finally here.
“The 2022 class is finally getting a chance to step up and let everyone know what we’re about,” Smith said.