High School Football
Indians face quick turnaround after loss to Archer
by Chris Goltermann
The three words on the back of the T-shirt worn by East Coweta offensive line coach Jamie Glover couldn't have been more relevant to the lessons from last Friday's tough 21-17 loss at Archer and the need for the Indians to immediately focus their attentions on nationally ranked Sandy Creek this week.
It read simply, 'Make The Play.'
One bad snap was all that stood between East Coweta and a potential victory over Archer, which turned a botched game-tying f ield goa l attempt into an eventual game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter to beat the Indians.
It'll take a whole lot more than one play, however, to have a chance to beat Sandy Creek.
'They're an extremely talented team and they're very, very well coached,' said Indians head coach Clint Wade.
The Patriots gave up 21 firsthalf points to Newnan last week, but still managed to double the Cougars' efforts by halftime en route to a 55-21 win at home while improving to 1-0-1. As disappointing as last Friday's loss at Archer was to swallow, the effort wasn't an issue with Wade despite the final result.
'We're going to work on getting better and get after it on Friday night,' Wade said, adding of last week, 'It was a tough pill to swallow. The kids played hard, they played fast.'
Last Friday, East Coweta took a 17-14 lead into the final period following a tiebreaking 20-yard field goal by Cole Antley, then dodged two missed kicks by Archer to maintain the threepoint edge. A third attempt, however, where the snap was bobbled, caused a scramble that allowed holder Kyle Davis to find KJ Parmer in the end zone from 20 yards out.
The thought of facing another difficult challenge in Sandy Creek may have helped Indians players refocus their efforts on the field this week, though.
'When you know the all the added pressure, you get into a different mindset. It starts clicking in. Them coming to our house, we know we've got to perform,' said Indians senior linebacker Jay McKnight. 'That was one of the more physical games I've played in my high school career. To go out in a way like that was heartbreaking.'
Harder and faster was the mantra in practice on Tuesday, even while battling some of their own emotions off the field. It came in hearing word that East Coweta sophomore cheerleader Madeline McTier had passed away in her extended recovery from a cancerous brain tumor that was removed in March 2012. (See related story)
Being good simply didn't cut it during drills. Indians assistants constantly reminded a running back that a wide run to the sidelines was going to be cut off by a Sandy Creek player, a block off the edge was going to be met with a Patriot for a loss of yardage or a pass into traffic would most likely end in an interception.
At least this week.
Despite losing much of last year's starting offensive line, a majority of a starting lineup that contributed to a 31-7 victory over the Indians returns including quarterback Cole Garvin (6-1, 200) and receiver Demarre Kitt (6-1, 190), both seniors.
While not mentioning Kitt by name, ECHS defensive coordinator Ahmand Tinker got his point across to his players by referring to him as 'the one going to Clemson.'
Kitt connected on a quick strike for a 40-yard touchdown last week against Newnan that helped build a 14-0 lead. Twice the Cougars closed to within a touchdown before Garvin hit receiver Corey Banks from 10 yards out.
The Patriots defense came up with as much of a knockout blow when Trent Sellers batted a pass from Newnan quarterback Bailey Bryant inside the 5-yard-line, picked it out of the air and walked into the end zone amidst a 21-point swing.
As accurate as Garvin was in a 20-for-23 passing performance, East Coweta's defense will be staring down a two-headed monster on the ground from the Patriots.
Running backs Eric Swinney and Delvin Weems each had a pair of touchdown runs, the longest coming on Swinney's 38-yard jaunt less than a minute after Newnan had cut its early 14-point deficit in half.
Even while possessing a bit of an insider in Glover, who arrived this season from Sandy Creek's staff, 'there's no secrets with them,' Wade said. 'They're going to power it at you with those running backs and when you start cheating in on them, they're going to throw it deep. It's still 11 on 11. We just have to be ready to play come Friday.'