McEachern, all but written off after a 42-29 loss to Milton on Sept. 24 dropped the Indians to 2-4, is a region champion again.
The Indians completed a four-game sweep of 2-7A Friday night with a 33-20 victory over host Pebblebrook to win the region title, their second in three seasons and seventh since 2009. McEachern (6-4, 4-0) will open the playoffs at home next Friday against South Gwinnett, the fourth-place team from Region 4.
Pebblebrook (8-1-1, 3-1) suffered its first loss of the season and came up short in its bid for the school’s first region title 2006. The Falcons also will be at home next weekend, facing Parkview, the No. 3 seed from Region 4.
McEachern overwhelmed Pebblebrook with its uptempo running game that at times was a dizzying blur. The Indians had three rushers with at least 100 yards, unofficially - Makari Bodiford (149 yards on 29 carries), Shamar Hall (127 yards on 18 carries) and Peja’ Womack (100 yards on 18 carries) - and finished with 380 rushing yards and 544 total yards. Bodiford and Hall scored two touchdowns each.
McEachern ran a total of 94 offensive plays while limiting Pebblebrook to 47. The Indians seemingly spent as much time in Pebblebrook territory as they did in their own huddle, crossing midfield on 10 of their 12 possessions.
“That’s what we do in our offense,” McEachern coach Franklin Stephens said. “At any given time when we start moving the ball, we can go uptempo. It was just base plays. I’m not sure how many times we ran it tonight, but we ran it with three different backs. Give credit to the offensive line. Along with the H-backs and the running backs, they did a great job.”
The game got off to a great start for McEachern when Victor Okafor recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff, giving his team the ball at the Pebblebrook 24. Four plays later, Lucas Wynn kicked a 22-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
McEachern extended the lead to 17 by halftime on touchdown runs by Bodiford (2 yards) and Hall (11 yards) and made it a 19-0 game when it tackled a Pebblebrook runner in the end zone on the Falcons’ first offensive play of the second half.
Bodiford’s 8-yard touchdown run with 1:57 remaining in the third quarter gave the Indians a 26-0 lead, but it also seemed to awaken the Falcons.
On the first play following the ensuing kickoff. Qamar Grant threw a 71-yard touchdown pass to Dwight Phillips to cut the lead to 26-6. Up to that point, the Falcons had just 87 passing yards and 109 total yards.
Grant got the Falcons closer on the third play of the fourth quarter with a 60-yard touchdown pass to Craig Adams, but McEachern answered with a six-play, 72-yard drive that ended with a 28-yard touchdown run by Hall that made it 33-13 with 7:13 left.
Grant threw his third touchdown pass, an 8-yarder to TJ Holmes, with 5:33 remaining in the game, but Pebblebrook never got the ball back.
Grant completed 19 of 33 passes for 309 yards, 252 of which came in the second half. The Falcons had just one second-half rushing attempt and finished with 22 yards on 13 carries.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my players and our coaches for what they were able to do in the last five weeks,” Stephens said. “We won tonight, but it really wasn’t about tonight. It was the culmination of what these guys have been able to do this season, going from 2-4 to 6-4 and staying positive. They may have had some doubts here and there, but they kept a great attitude.”
McEachern - 7-10-9-7 - 33
Pebblebrook - 0-0-6-14 - 20
M - Lucas Wynn 22 field goal, 10:02
M - Makari Bodiford 2 run (Wynn kick), 10:59
M - Shamar Hall 11 run (Wynn kick), 4:17
M - Safety (Pebblebrook runner tackled in end zone), 8:31
M - Bodiford 8 run (Wynn kick), 1:52
P - Dwight Phillips 71 pass from Qamar Grant (pass failed), 1:40
P - Craig Adams 60 pass from Grant (John Diaz kick), 10:50
M - Hall 28 run (Wynn kick), 7:13
P - TJ Holmes 8 pass from Grant (Diaz kick), 5:33
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