Last year, the game between McEachern and Marietta was decided by a missed extra-point; this year, after a missed extra point by Marietta in the first quarter, it came down to a final two-point conversion.
With 19 seconds left and McEachern holding a 14-12 lead, Marietta quarterback Harrison Bailey avoided pressure and looked to his trusty target Arik Gilbert.
But Gilbert was hounded by one McEachern defender and immediately hit by another, Jamari Bellamy. Gilbert couldn’t hold on.
McEachern (Powder Springs, Georgia) won 14-12 over No. 18 Marietta (Georgia).
After being beaten by Marietta last year for the first time since 2007, McEachern is back on top.
With the win, McEachern improves to 7-0 while Marietta picks up its second loss of the season.
Here are some takeaways.
McEachern can stop a team when it matters most
This marks two weeks in a row that a McEachern game came down to the final play, and it’s two weeks in a row the Indians succeeded.
Coverage was beautiful on the two-point conversion. After Bailey was able to rush for the touchdown, pressure got to him on the two-point conversion, and more was coming at him when he released the pass to Gilbert.
Receivers were covered well, and the quickness the defense converged on Gilbert was enough to break the ball out of the five-star tight end’s hands, something that’s tough to do.
The Indians sure know how to put forth an exciting finish.
The defense as a whole was impressive
To show how strong this McEachern defense was, we’re going to review some tidbits about the Marietta offense coming into the game.
Bailey, a four-star quarterback, is ranked by the 247Sports Composite as the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2020. A Tennessee commit, he had 10 total touchdowns in the last two games and averaged more than 300 passing yards per game through the first six games of the season.
Two weeks ago, Marietta scored 39 against a team who had allowed more than 21 points just once prior. Last week, Marietta scored 49. The team also put up 48 in the first week of the season.
Marietta had not scored less than 20 points since Sept. 22 of last year. You have to go back to Oct. 20, 2017 to find the last time the Blue Devils scored less than 14 points.
McEachern shut Marietta down. Even though the Indians were trailing by six to start the fourth, they had out-gained the Blue Devils 237-180. Once they stopped flaming out near the red zone, they took control.
It was a stunning performance.
Del Rio-Wilson helped the team come through in the fourth
After an illegal procedure on third-and-two in the red zone, McEachern quarterback Carlos Del Rio-Wilson had to make a play on third-and-seven. He got the ball to Dacari Collins got the ball cutting across the field on third and seven to get a first down, and then Del Rio-Wilson punched in the touchdown with a short run.
He was tested again on third-and-long. Needing nine yards with 3:44 left, Del Rio-Wilson ran it — but only got six. He took another quarterback sneak on the fourth-and-three with the box loaded. He got that one.
Apparently, Marietta still wasn’t ready, as he later faked a handoff and took a naked bootleg around to the outside to get inside the 10-yard line, setting up the touchdown that would eventually win it.
Any guess who scored that touchdown from the one-yard line? Yep, it was Del Rio-Wilson.
McEachern took the win once again.