The Indians, known for having a great offensive line, will be going up against size they haven’t seen so far this season when they line up against the Packers. Colquitt County just shut down a then-No. 1 Camden County team that averages 43 points last week en route to a 13-12 upset.
Colquitt was especially big on third down, allowing Camden County to convert only one of 10 opportunities.
That will pose a test to the Indians (8-2), who have won eight straight games relying mostly on their experienced offensive line and about four speedsters who can run the ball.
“They are really big and physical,” McEachern coach Kyle Hockman said. “They have a couple of 300-pounders up front, and it’s going to be a challenge for us. We’re a different style offense (than Camden County), and (Colquitt) has improved defensively over the years so we’re going to try to do what we do.”
Another concern for McEachern may be the idea that the Packers have the Indians right where they want them — at home.
Over the last three years Colquitt County has gone 8-2 on the road in the playoffs. That includes a 46-17 victory over Lassiter in 2009, which was the last time the Packers came to Cobb County. In each of those three seasons, they have made it to at least the state semifinals.
The key for McEachern is to make its blocks and create a big enough pass for their runners to slip through and hopefully find open space against a Colquitt defense led by linebacker John Gray and lineman Jamiyus Pittman.
Quarterback Ty Griffin is leading the quartet of talented rushers and is coming off a 222-yard rushing performance and two touchdowns in McEchern’s 33-30 win over Hillgrove.
When Griffin isn’t scrambling, he has options that include Ty Clemons and Taj Griffin who can generate speed and Mike Sherman, who is more of a physical back. Ryan Sherman may also get a few carries to change things up.
Not having lost a game since the second week of the season, McEachern has depended greatly on its running game and occasionally throwing the deep ball, and it’s offensive line is aware of what its about to face.
“All of us are big and strong up front and it will be a great test,” said offensive lineman and Maryland-commitment Jujuan Dulaney. “(Colquitt) has big guys and none of them are less than 275 pounds. We haven’t played against that much size this year. We plan on watching film and finding as many wrinkles as we can find.”
McEachern’s biggest challenge defensively is containing quarterback Cole Seagraves. He already has 1,362 passing yards and can also run the ball, having scored on a 70-yarder against Camden County.
A win over Colquitt County may help McEachern gain some postseason respect. As successful as the Indians have been over the last four years, which included three region titles, they haven’t gone further than the second round. They had a great shot at making it to the quarterfinals but were upset by Lassiter.
“You got to earn (respect) through postseason victories, so we don’t deserve it,” Hockman said. “We’re going to play the underdog role and use that as motivation and try to prove ourselves.”