Preview for the game of the year: McEachern


Michael Smith

A look at McEachern’s defensive side of the ball and what they plan to bring to the Warriors

Michael Smith, Sports editor

NC will travel to Cantrell Stadium on Friday, October 7 to take on the fifth-ranked McEachern Indians in a game that will air on Georgia Public Broadcasting at 7:30. In recent years, the game eventually crowned the region champion, with the Indians winning the last two contests and NC claiming its last victory during the 2017 class’ freshman season on a kickoff return for a touchdown.

Last season, McEachern embarrassed the visiting Warriors in a 35-0 blowout after both teams entered the second quarter tied 0-0. Since last year’s contest, though, the Indians graduated a plethora of talent, including four-star defensive tackle Julian Rochester, and spent a large part of the early season attempting to reignite the offense and shut down opposing running games. Through four games, the offense scored inconsistently, putting up big gains through the air off of the arm of four-star recruit and Florida State commit Bailey Hockman. The run game, however, failed to produce consistency like in years past, and the offense has anxiously waited on three-star North Carolina commit Tyler Smith, a six foot receiver with great ball skills.

Prepare for the Warrior defense to try to target Hockman early and often, as he shows a tendency to dramatically avoid pressure and contact over his career in a manner that suggests he either debilitatingly fears the hits or does not feel the high school football games he plays for his dad hold more importance than the games he hopes to play down the road. Expect the game to get chippy quickly as the Warriors experienced linebacking core gets after him and the Indians feel a need to stand up in Hockman’s defense.

On defense, McEachern’s base alignment employs four linemen, three linebackers, and four defensive backs. The back end of the defense does an excellent job of defending against the deep ball in the Indian’s base cover four, or quarters, scheme. Both corners play the quick passes well and have the speed to carry receivers up the field. The two outside linebackers tend to operate almost as box safeties, playing well outside the box and often over receivers against almost any offensive personnel. With the defensive backs playing to defend the deep ball and the outside linebackers playing outside, NC may look to attack the short and intermediate part of the field, but only after establishing a running game.

Through four weeks of the season, the Warrior offense has consistently shown a will and ability to pound the ball inside against some of the best front sevens in the state. NC dominated on the ground against an East Coweta team with a superior defensive line and an Etowah squad whose linebackers all focused on downhill, run-first responsibilities. Both those victories came against teams that the MDJ predicted to win the game and presented the Warriors as a physical and well-coached team. This week, the MDJ predicts the Indians to win 28-21, but the Warriors plan to bring back senior receiver and running back Quannie Green, a physical running with game breaking speed in the passing game. Although Green may play on a snap count, his talent may provide enough of a difference to win the game. In his absence, however, sophomore running back Christian Singleton has exploded, playing well to seal out the East Coweta game and busting two big runs for touchdowns against Pebblebrook. The game will present plenty of emotions, physicality, and excitement for television.

The Chant’s prediction: NC: 24, McEachern: 14