The battle of the unbeatens—and many fans pick (including Fox 5) for Game of the Week—did not disappoint. It was exciting right down to the final play as the McEachern Indians edged out the Hillgrove Hawks to remain undefeated on the season. When the final play of the game fell a yard short of the goal line, the home side of Walter H. Cantrell Stadium went crazy: the Indians had held on to a 19-14 lead to win the game.
The first half was mostly owned by the Hawks. Mistakes and a sluggish offense made the Indians look out of sorts and off-balance. Taking a 14-6 lead into the locker room at half, it appeared that Hillgrove had McEachern’s number for the third straight season. A WR screen trick play got the momentum going for the Hawks early, with their first score coming on the first play of the second quarter with a pass from Matthew McCravy to Jalen Royals. A fumbled punt by the Indians in the second quarter gave the Hawks great field position to score their second TD of the night on a shoulder fade from McCravy to Trevarus Walker.
Overall, the first half was a defensive chess match by both teams, neither team was dominant offensively, but the Hawks made the most of opportunities to take the 8-point lead into halftime.
The second half was a different story: Carlos Del-Rio Wilson got his Indian offense straightened out and showed the way forward with several double-digit designed runs from under center. Wilson was electric in the second half, refusing to let the Hawks gain any momentum. McEachern’s first possession of the second half was capped off with a TD run by Jordan Simmons to bring the Indians within one point, 14-13.
Hillgrove’s response looked promising, but their drive died when Jonathan Grote’s 35-yard field goal attempt bounced off the left upright. It was an indication that momentum was beginning to shift to the home team, and the Indians never looked back. Wilson and his offense took what time was left in the third quarter in a well-executed drive down the field, finished off with nice TD pass to Javon Baker to give the Indians their first lead of the game. A failed two-point conversion kept the score at 19-14.
Hillgrove still couldn’t get anything going offensively in the fourth quarter, and when McEachern chose to go for a fourth down conversion, rather than kick a field goal to extend the lead to 8 points, Hillgrove’s defense gave the Hawk offense the spark it needed. McCravy and his offense came back on the field and ate up yards (and clock) to find themselves in a first and goal situation with time to run one more play for the win. McCravy took the snap and bootlegged right and headed straight for the near corner of the end zone, but was stopped on the one-yard line to end the game. It was a most fitting end to the Powder Springs rivalry game.