By Rob Grubbs
Every magical season that a high school football goes through, there is always one win that turns out to be a statement win.
Such was the East Coweta Indians case on Friday night at Garland Shoemake Memorial Stadium as the played the Collins Hill Eagles (4-2). Down late and facing adversity, the Indians tied the game with a field goal as time expired and won the game 24-17 in the second overtime to improve to 5-1 on the season.
The Eagles came into the game with only one loss to the top-ranked Grayson Rams. They featured a top quarterback in Sam Horn and a top receiver in Travis Hunter. Stir in the additional components of homecoming and constant rain, there were many potential distractions and pitfalls for the Indians.
But the Indians, under the leadership of Head Coach John Small, were built for this moment.
The Indians took the lead late in the second quarter on a Danny Shoch one-yard quarterback sneak. On that drive, Shoch gained a critical first down on a third-and-seven. He sidestepped Eagle defensive linebacker Dion Crawford and turned upfield. A key block by East Coweta receiver Mason Holmes allowed him to pick up 25 yards and a crucial first down.
That lead held up until the third quarter when Spenser Anderson scored on a run for the Eagles to tie the game up.
With the rain intensity increasing, the Eagles took their first lead on an Isaac Bonacci field goal at 10-7. The Eagle defense appeared to make that hold when they stopped the Indians on fourth down, but Shoch and the East Coweta offense got one more opportunity with only a couple of minutes remaining.
The Indians traveled the length of the field, including a couple of key third downs. After a pass interference call gave them the ball at the Eagle five-yard line, Coach Small elected to kick the field goal and send the game to overtime. Beau Beldon was true from 22-yards to tie the game as regulation came to an end.
The Eagles received the first possession in the overtime period and took advantage of a Clint Gilbert 1-yard TD run. Shoch and the Indian offense had an answer. A Shoch pass deflected off Mason Holmes and directly in the hands of Fate Simmons, and a Beldon extra point retied the game.
The possession order changed for the second overtime; East Coweta went first. Shoch struck again with a touchdown pass to Tyrell Fudge to give East Coweta the lead. The defense made that hold up when they forced an Eagle penalty, and the Collins Hill last-ditch effort was a pass out of the endzone for the 24-17 Indian final.
Shoch is making a name for himself as an overtime quarterback. The Indians have had three overtime possessions this season, two against Collins Hill and one against Starr's Mill in their opener. Shoch has touchdown passes in all three of those.
The Indians have a much-deserved week off before going on the road for their first Region 2-AAAAAAA game at Pebblebrook (5-1).
Gabe Gray and the East Coweta defense came up with crucial defensive stops all night.Quarterback Danny Shoch had two touchdown passes in overtime and several crucial scrambles for first downs.Linebacker Chase Lewis and company got a key stop to set up the final drive of the night to send the game to overtime.
Amariyon Moss had a key catch to set up East Coweta’s first touchdown.