McEachern, Camden meet for first time

Two teams that have enjoyed plenty of winning over the years will collide for the first time Friday night at the third annual Frank Smith Classic in Kingsland.

Next for Camden County after a hard-nosed 7-6 victory at rival Brunswick is McEachern (3-1), ranked fourth in Class 7A. The Indians are also coming off a tight, low-scoring win, making two fourth-quarter field goals stand up and tripping Westlake, 6-2 last week.

CCHS head coach Welton Coffey is eager to see how his team responds after the excitement of last Friday night, and knows the job won’t be easy.

“It comes down to execution,” he said. We’ve got to take advantage of the situations they present. The windows are small when you’re talking about 7A.”

“We’ve got to continue to press forward and grow,” he said.

One of Georgia's most consistent programs, McEachern, coached by Kyle Hockman, has had one losing season since 1984. 

The Powder Springs power has won at least 10 games in six of the last seven seasons and reached the state playoffs the last seven, with Class 6A semifinal appearances in 2013 and 2014. Hockman is 77-23 in his ninth year at the Region 3 school.

His son, Bailey, the quarterback, is among the program’s college prospects, a two-time all-state player and a Florida State commitment. According to 247sports.com, receiver Tyler Smith is committed to North Carolina, cornerback Jaytlin Askew to Georgia Tech, and safety C.J. Miller to Southern California.

“You’re not going to do anything to rattle him,” Coffey said of the passer Hockman, who has plenty of playmakers at his disposal and a huge front wall to shield him.

Offensively, according to Coffey, McEachern prefers a lot of quick screens, so “we have to be able to do some things to disrupt the timing.”

Though its offense has failed to post a touchdown in two games of its four, the Indians have only permitted 32 points this season. Their defense, according to Coffey, is very stout, the line large and athletic.

McEachern lost in the second round of state last year to Archer, and exacted revenge on the Tigers in the season-opening Corky Kell Classic at the Georgia Dome, 27-14. Grayson held the Indians to just 90 yards of total offense and kicked a field goal as time expired Sept. 2 to win, 16-13. With Hockman accounting for five touchdowns in just one half, Jonesboro — held to just seven yards of offense — was McEachern’s second victim, 69-0 the following week.

On the road three of the first four games, the Wildcats will play four of their last six in Kingsland, including an Oct. 7 visit from neighbor Charlton that was added to the schedule last week.

Through four games, Camden has four running backs between 114 and 122 yards: Trevon Packard (team-leading 122), Devegas Austin (121), Gary Brewington (118) and Mikey Packard (114). Defensively, Jeremiah Compton leads with 30 total tackles — a team-leading 20 solo — and Casey McCormick with seven tackles for loss.

“Anything can happen on any given Friday night,” Coffey said.

How to get tickets for the game

Kickoff will be 7:30 p.m., and advance tickets will be on sale today and Friday at the CCHS athletic office and at both Camden and St. Marys middle schools. 

Advance tickets will be $8 for adults and $6 for students, and $10 at the gate for everybody ages 5 and older. Reserved seats for the remainder of the season are still available.

The athletic office will be open Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call (912) 729-7042 for more information.

Tribune & Georgian

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