LAWRENCEVILLE — Sometimes you practice plays hoping you never use them.
For Archer’s K.J. Parmer, practicing a botched snap on a field-goal attempt was exactly that — practice. Parmer had to put his prep work into play as a botched snap on a game-tying field-goal attempt was fumbled and he had to improvise. Scrambling around the backfield, Parmer passed to an open Kyle Davis, who took it 20 yards for the go-ahead score as Archer pulled off a miracle, 21-17, Friday against East Coweta.
“That’s not how we drew up that play, but we’ll take it,” said Archer head coach Andy Dyer. “You practice those things hoping you’ll never have to use them. You have to give K.J. credit. He made a great play.”
For Parmer, as soon as the ball hit off his fingers, he sprang into action, knowing what he had to do.
“I knew I had to come up with a play,” he said. “I was just waiting for one of my ends to go out and he did.”
But the Tigers (2-0) weren’t done as the defense had to hunker down and prevent the Indians from scoring.
Bryce Gemmel found Markell Boston for 47 yards, putting East Coweta in business at the Archer 27-yard line. However, the defense pushed the Indians to a fourth down where Gemmel pass ended up in the hands of John Gillis III.
“Honestly, they had been going to No. 4 (Boston) all night, and I knew they were going to do it again,” Gillis said. “I felt like the ball was mine when it was thrown and I went and got it.”
For East Coweta, it was a heart-breaker considering they came so close to winning.
“Our kids fought hard in this game and they fought way above their means,” said head coach Clint Wade. “In the end, we made too many mistakes and we have to learn from it.”
East Coweta got on the scoreboard first thanks in part to a 60-yard interception return by Boston. Four plays later, Weylin Orr found the end zone from the 15-yard line to put the Indians up 7-0.
But Archer answered on its next drive, using a 33-yard rush by Randy Nails to put them in East Coweta territory. Three plays later, Gabe Tiller found Davis for a 24-yard score to tie the game at 7-7.
Late in the second quarter, Archer took a 14-7 lead, using a 15-yard personal foul penalty to its advantage. Tiller found Dylan Singleton for a five-yard score, giving the Tigers the lead.
However, East Coweta answered on its next drive as Gemmel took a quarterback draw 21 yards to tie the game at 14-14. On the drive, Gemmel was responsible for 74 yards in the air or on the ground.
Early in the third quarter, the momentum quickly shifted to the Indians as Archer fumbled a snap on the punt. But Archer was able to hold East Coweta to a 20-yard field goal to put the score at 17-14.
“That was a huge stand by our defense,” Dyer said. “They came up huge multiple times.”
A missed 21-yard field goal on its next drive halted any momentum Archer had as East Coweta took the ball back and started to drive downfield. But Archer again stood up on defense and forced the Indians to punt.
Taking the ball with 8:36 to go, Archer began the drive with a five-yard penalty to move back to the 6-yard line. A negative rush put the ball at the 5-yard line on second down. That’s when Tiller and company started to go to work.
A 14-yard completion to Nails on second down gave the Tigers a manageable third down, which they converted. Tiller then found Singleton for 27 yards and the Tigers continued to move the ball downfield.
“It’s probably a little bit of a cliche, but our kids showed great character in this game,” Dyer said. “They kept fighting and came out on top.”
However, the drive stalled on the 20-yard line setting up the field-goal attempt.
Tiller finished the game 16 of 29 for 167 yards, while Nails had 93 yards rushing and 33 yards receiving, including two touchdowns. Singleton finished the game with six catches for 67 yards.
For East Coweta, Gemmel finished 14-for-24 for 164 yards, while also rushing for 76 yards on the ground. E.J. Ransom had 58 yards on five catches and Boston had 64 yards receiving.
East Coweta 7 7 3 0 - 17
Archer 7 7 0 7 - 21
East Coweta: Weylin Orr 15 run (Cole Antley kick) 8:36
Archer: Kyle Davis 24 pass from Gabe Tiller (Michael Frye kick) 6:32
Archer: Dylan Singleton 5 pass from Tiller (Frye kick) 4:05
East Coweta: Bryce Gemmel 21 run (Antley kick)1:58
East Coweta: Antley 20 field goal 7:29
Archer: Davis 20 pass from KJ Parmer (Frye kick) 2:05