Brookwood’s Kevin Knight (23) gets hit in the face as he tackles McEachern’s Tymashian Clemons (2) during the first half of Saturday’s game in the Corky Kell Classic at the Georgia Dome. (Staff Photo: Jason Braverman)
ATLANTA — As many solid athletes as Brookwood’s football team has, it didn’t have enough to keep up with McEachern in the finale of the 2013 Corky Kell Classic.
The No. 6 state-ranked Indians got 156 yards rushing and a touchdown from Taj Griffin, while quarterback Ty Clemons added 176 yards of total offense and a score to sprint to a 31-10 win late Saturday night at the Georgia Dome.
The Broncos (0-1) also weren’t helped by injuries to both starting running backs, as well as its own mistakes — a turnover and 74 yards in penalties on 10 infractions.
“We lost our fullback and tailback at halftime. That didn’t help much, either,” Brookwood coach Mark Crews said of Josh Brown (knee) and Joshua Collins (possible concussion), both of whom will be evaluated Monday. “And (McEachern has) talented guys on offense. If we keep giving them opportunities, over and over again, they’re going to score. The only time we really moved the ball really well was in the first series. … Then, obviously, they’re pretty good on defense, but we shot ourselves in the foot with mistakes — people lining up wrong and not doing the things they needed to do to move the football. We gave them too many opportunities.”
And those miscues were only accentuated by the speed of McEachern (1-0), which rolled up 390 yards of total offense.
Still, the Broncos’ offense opened the game with a solid drive, marching 47 yards in seven plays despite three penalties, two for delay of game.
The drive eventually stalled, and Brandon Morrow booted a 37-yard field goal to give Brookwood a 3-0 lead with 8:53 left in the first quarter.
From that point, however, the Broncos managed just 72 total yards over the remainder of a penalty-filled first half.
“They hit a play-action pass on us, and one of our guys got sucked in, and then they hit us with a trap,” McEachern coach Kyle Hockman said. “Then we made an adjustment to that. After that, we pretty much played well. (Brookwood) had a few pass plays they got us on, and their quarterback (Joey McLane) is a pretty good player. But we did a nice job of putting pressure on them and swarming to the ball and tackling well.”
Meanwhile, McEachern’s big-play threats went to work, and Griffin was the biggest of those threats.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound junior, who already has more than 20 Division I college scholarship offers, first broke free for a 45-yard gain, setting up Ryan Sherman’s 14-yard scoring run just over a minute after Morrow’s field goal to push the Indians in front 7-3 at the 7:36 mark.
Then with the McEachern lead at 10-3, Griffin struck again on the first play of the second quarter.
This time, he found a seam in the left side of the Brookwood line and outraced the Broncos’ secondary 90 yards for the score, pushing the Indians’ lead to 17-3 with 11:43 left in the half.
“You give (guys like Griffin and Clemons) a seam, and they can take it a long way,” Hockman said. “We threw the ball occasionally and did enough stuff to keep (Brookwood) off-balance.”
Clemons then ran for 32 of his 109 rushing yards on the night during McEachern’s first drive of the second half, including the final 11 yards for a score that pushed the Indians’ lead to 24-3 with 8:59 left in the third quarter.
Brookwood finally got its offense going again in the fourth quarter behind McLane, who completed 11 of 24 passes for 163 yards on the evening.
The senior hit Mike Allen for completions of 20 and 19 yards and added a 17-yard strike to Grant Hill before hooking up with Matt Price for a 5-yard touchdown with 3:59 left to play, helping the Broncos pull to within 24-10.
But McEachern recovered the ensuing onside kick and needed just six plays to find the end zone again, this time, when offensive lineman Uche Nkadi recovered Alizee Chubbs’ fumble in the end zone to make the Indians’ lead 31-10 with 1:14 to play.