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Thursday, October 28, 2010 - 6:10am

McEachern Comeback Win Puts Region Title Within Reach

Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. For McEachern, it was better to be lucky and good in their 31-28 win over North Cobb. Quarterback Trent Thompson hit receiver Rory Anderson on a 13-yard touchdown pass with 45 seconds left to complete a second-half comeback and give the Indians their seventh win of the season.

“We preach (resiliency) a whole bunch and our kids believe it, too, after you win several in a row,” McEachern head coach Kyle Hockman told the MDJ. “We’ve done it several times over the last two or three years where we’ve come back and scored at the end of a half or at the end of a game. They know what to do and how to execute and to keep themselves poised.”

The Indians trailed 28-14 late in the third quarter. A Nicholas St. Germain field goal made the deficit 11 with two minutes remaining in the third. Thompson hit Chris Davis on a 25-yard score to make it 28-24 with eight minutes left.
An interception thrown by Thompson with just under three minutes remaining left slim hope for the Indians. However, the defense was able to hold and stop the clock. Junior Chris Nwagbara had a huge 29-yard punt return that gave the offense great field position at the North Cobb 26. Then, Thompson threw the game-winning touchdown pass.
The win gave McEachern (7-1, 5-0) a commanding first place lead in Region 4-5A. They have a two-game lead on the four teams tied for second, with just two regular season games left to play. The Indians rank No. 5 in this week’s AJC/GPB Class 5A poll.

Hillgrove remained in playoff contention with a 21-3 victory over Pebblebrook. The win improved their overall record to 5-2 and 3-2 in the region.
The game was dictated by turnovers. Hillgrove turned three turnovers by Pebblebrook into three touchdowns. The key turnover came on a fumble recovered on the kickoff after the Hawks had just made the score 14-3. Quarterback Gage Henry ran for a three-yard touchdown, giving Hillgrove a 21-3 lead in the third quarter.
Henry led the Hawks with 88 yards rushing on 13 carries. He also completed 19 of 30 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown.
Hillgrove is locked in a second-place tie with three other teams in Region 4-5A. There are a number of different scenarios and tiebreakers that will determine if they make the playoffs. What the Hawks do know is that they have to win in order to make it.

Sprayberry has had a disappointing season, especially after qualifying for the playoffs the previous three years. They showed glimpses of what could have been this year in a 41-8 win over Osborne.
The defense held the Cardinal rushing attack to only 38 yards. Three turnovers were returned for touchdowns in the fourth quarter to complete a thoroughly dominating performance by the Yellow Jackets defense.
This game was basically over after Sprayberry recovered an on-side kick attempt by Osbourne to start the second-half. The Yellow Jackets quickly turned that opportunity into a score when Josh Moody ran in a 14-yard touchdown to make it 21-0.
Although the Jackets are 3-5 this season, they are still young and have a lot of potential in the coming years.
“People don’t realize that we’re young,” head coach Billy Shackleford told the MDJ. “We’ve got a lot of 10th graders playing. We’ve got growing pains. We’ve just got to learn how to fight and never give up. It looks dim for us, but we’re going to see some bright days soon.”

The volleyball program at Pope High School has been the best in the state of Georgia over the past two or three years. The Greyhounds are a combined 192-11 since 2007. They have made the championship match each of the past two seasons and won last year. This year, they are 52-1 and once again in the state volleyball tournament semifinals. Their opponent is Johns Creek (37-11), a team that has scrapped their way into the final four. Should they get past them, Pope will face either Marist or Chattahoochee in the championship.
Junior outside hitter Mary Hannah Arrington was named 2010 All Area Player of the Year for Area 7-4A. She ranks second on the team with 417 kills and led the team with 84 aces. Coach Bryan Jones was named Coach of the Year in Area 7-4A. It was the sixth time that Jones was named coach of the year.

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