‘Battle’ becomes a marathon
by Adam Carrington
September 01, 2013 01:08 AM | 3799 views | 10 10 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
By the time McEachern coach Kyle Hockman left the field following his win over Lassiter, it was nearly 2 a.m.
<BR>Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
By the time McEachern coach Kyle Hockman left the field following his win over Lassiter, it was nearly 2 a.m.
Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
The CSS television crew had a lot to do with the longevity of Friday’s two “Battle of I-75” games at McEachern, but more games might be inching beyond the three-hour mark.

One major change as of late is that more teams are doing away with running the football and chewing clock, instead reverting to taking care of business in the air. That’s one explanation why members of teams’ secondaries are getting more attention from major colleges than in years past.

But the two games at McEachern went unusually long.

Hillgrove beat Walton 47-35 in a game that started at 6 p.m. and took more than 3½ hours to play. The nightcap between Lassiter and McEachern was scheduled for 9 p.m. and didn’t kick off until after 10. When McEachern’s 42-28 victory was official — with a delay for a power outage along the way — it was close to 2 a.m.

“I knew it was going to be a late night for us,” Lassiter coach Jep Irwin said. “Both games were high-scoring, and you have TV timeouts, too. Certainly, you don’t want to play a game that late, but you can’t play any game before 6 if you want to get a crowd. It was a challenge we had to manage.”

When games are on air, TV timeouts automatically tack on to the running length of games. But there were other factors during the “Battle of I-75” that made for a much longer night than anticipated.

Both games featured 70 points or more. There was also a 20-minute delay following halftime of the McEachern-Lassiter game because the stadium lights were timed to go off at midnight.

Furthermore, Hillgrove and Walton combined for 20 penalties, with McEachern and Lassiter totaling 16. And that doesn’t include the flags that were waved off.

Walton dropped passes early against Hillgrove, stopping the clock. The Raiders, known to be a running team, attempted 46 passes, with Price Wilson finishing the game with 286 yards and three touchdowns. Hillgrove’s Elijah Ironside completed 19 of 27 pass attempts for 375 yards.

The first half of the Walton-Hillgrove game took well over an hour-and-a-half. The fourth quarter was also lengthy, as the teams combined for four touchdowns and a field goal.

Lassiter-McEachern was just as long, yet both teams were more successful from the ground. The Indians had 420 rushing yards, but penalties erased some big gains, stopping the clock and taking the teams longer to set up for the next play.

Neither quarterback threw the ball well.

Lassiter’s Will Anderson only completed 40 percent of his passes in his first start before he was shaken up in the fourth quarter after getting sacked by Christian Wade. He was replaced by Russell Aarons, who did have a 19-yard touchdown pass late to keep Lassiter in the game.

McEachern quarterback Ty Clemons, whose strength is using his legs, was 6-of-8 passing for 97 yards and a touchdown in the first half, but he was just 1-for-5 in the second.

“It’s very hard for 17- and 18-year-olds to be playing this late,” McEachern coach Kyle Hockman said. “Just wished we played better when we had a 14-point lead (in the third quarter).”

Kennesaw Mountain’s season-opening 48-27 victory at Sprayberry also eclipsed the three-hour mark, and those teams didn’t have to worry about TV timeouts. The reasons that game took so long was somewhat of a mystery to coach Andy Scott.

“We ran the ball all night. I’m not sure why but it was a long one,” Scott said. “There were situations where officials had to meet and discuss issues. The game took a long time for sure.”

There were a combined 75 points scored, with five touchdowns coming from 30 or more yards out. Each team also had eight penalties, and they combined for seven turnovers.

In comparison, Marietta’s 63-13 win over Pope, which led to a running clock in the second half, started 1½ hours after the Hillgrove-Walton game, but it wrapped up before the Hillgrove and Walton players could shake hands.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Oh and Tree
September 05, 2013
I didn't see anyone mention Tyren. I believe it to be a "new move in and don't contribute" mentality.

Enjoy the cricket sounds at the Walton home games.
CC football
September 01, 2013
The concept is great and the games have been decent both years but the lateness of the ending time might be its undoing. I have heard it from everyone, even a couple from the ref crew. Leaving the TV part out of it would be a huge help or if the Mac folks just absolutely have to have it televised, go to a delay format.

Another negative is the money split. I have heard comments from all 4 schools' booster clubs. The three visiting teams think more money should be shown from concessions and the home team people think the amount of money made after the split is not near enough for the amount of work they have to put in.

On a related note, what was up with Walton bringing such a small crowd? I know a 6 p.m. Friday start time is tough to make but it looked like they only had 500 or so.
Cobb Raider Dawg
September 02, 2013
Walton Football brings a small crowd because there is a huge disconnect in the community. The coaches encourage players to move in from all around while the families who support the program are being pushed aside in the later years. Winning is great but at what cost? I loved watching Walton with players who started at the Vikings, played for Coach Savula in the middle school and then proudly represented our community as we competed with the rest of the state of Georgia. And won.

The "new" move ins really don't contribute financially and seldom volunteer. Therefore you will continue to see smaller crowds.
September 02, 2013
What may also determine if we continue to see an East-West battle in the future is region alignments and the number of teams per region.

I always though the time issue could be fixed if you moved it to Saturday and had games at 5 and 8 or something like that. But I also know there are other logistical issues and other sports and activities that take place on Saturdays that could make that difficult.
Trojan Fan
September 02, 2013
They need to play these games on Saturday with the first game starting at 3:00.

The low crowd is nothing new for Walton. They are only interested in games when they have a winning record. Losing the first game in the dome was their downfall. Just wait and see what the attendance drops to after they lose to North Cobb next week and start the season 0-3.
September 04, 2013
Cobb Raider Dawg, you must be holding a grudge from your 'glory days' to be taking a shot at the success of Walton's program. Didn't get to play, huh? And you're still bringing up Tyren Jones transferring his sophomore year? Yawn. Both of Tyren's parents will be more then happy to discuss with you or anyone their reasons for moving their family to the Walton district.

You think you're in the know but you really aren't. Yes, Tyren went from a team that used him 8-10 carries per game to one that used him 30 times a game and the benefit was a full ride scholarship to the University of Alabama. They tell people when asked that they made their decision at the Walton vs Lassiter game Tyren's sophomore year when he had a handful of carries and Kyle Vorster was the Walton workhorse. What you don't know is that they made their decision for their 2 athletic daughters, too, who will prove to be even better then their older brother.

Why don't you enlighten everyone with your expertise and the names of the players who have moved in and the players who were bumped out. Certainly not in the football program you seem to hate. The crowd was smaller on Friday because a big chunk of us fans sat on the McEachern home side in the shade and because we don't like sitting near the band. In case you didn't look at the calendar, it was Labor Day weekend and many of our fans left for the holiday and others were already in Clemson for the UGA game.

I encourage you to voice your concerns immediately to Coach Hidalgo. To his face. Or to Tyronne Jones. To his face. Didn't think so because you're a coward.
September 04, 2013
Trojan fan, you really do have a sense of humor. You have the nerve to talk about crowds and attendance and fan support? Your school was given half of the advance sale tickets to the East Cobb Super Bowl Part II, also known as the 2011 state semi-finals, and didn't come close to selling them! The GHSA divided them up to be fair and Walton sold theirs immediately. When the fans still came to the school to purchase them, the front office and website directed them to Lassiter to buy their allotment. Your 'crowd' was hugely disappointing that night and it was the biggest game in memory. We felt sorry for your players and coaches.

Don't worry about Walton if they do happen to go 0-3 against 2-0 Peachtree Ridge, 2-0 Hillgrove and 1-0 North Cobb. They are non region games and the young team is working hard each week to get better. You just worry about your own team and try and handle AAAAA Kell and AAAAA 0-2 Sprayberry.

You also may want to get together with Cobb Raider Dawg and enlighten him about all the move-ins at Lassiter. Seven last year, alone. This year there were only a couple but the in house grumbling about the QB moving in and bumping out the Lassiter guy is quite the disconnect in the community.
September 04, 2013
One thing that will be sad is when Lassiter and Walton play each other on October 4. Cobb County has a 6 day break so you know the majority of people will head out of town. Really a shame that this big game will have very small crowds in both stands. The schedule was set up long before the furlough days were mandated and since the game is on TV, it can't be changed. That's too bad for all football fans.
Bill P
September 04, 2013
You speak the truth Cobb Raider Dawg.
September 14, 2013
Cobb Raider Dog and Trojan Fan. That sure was a great win for the Raiders last night. A huge and supportive crowd, too. Trojan Fan, Kell is really good so I'm not going to give you any grief for that loss. Too bad you can't take a lesson from Slim 065 and offer constructive comments, almost every time he or she posts. As for Cobb Raider Dog...you can take your negative and sorry act to a different program because you're not wanted or needed at Walton. Which is why, I suspect, you're such a bitter jerk.
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