Archer beats McEachern for Corky Kell 7-on-7 championship

Photo by Craig Sager II

Archer quarterback Gabe Tiller led the Tigers to the first-ever Corky Kell 7-on-7 championship with a 28-19 win over McEachern in the finals.

“To win a 7-on-7 tournament you are going to obviously have to have great play from your quarterback and I thought Gabe made some great throws today,” said Archer head coach Andy Dyer.

Archer comes off its school-record 11-1 season in 2013 and is set to make the program’s first-ever appearance in the Corky Kell Classic in August. The Tigers finished the tournament with a 7-1 record and were able to avenge their only loss (23-21 to Norcross in pool play) with a 24-15 victory over Norcross in the semifinals.

“It was a great day of competition,” said Archer head coach Andy Dyer. “If this doesn’t help your team get in football shape then nothing does.”

Pool play started at 9:30 AM and both finalists, Archer and McEachern, played a total of eight games in nearly seven hours of humid mid-ninety degree temperatures. Dyer rotated his guys throughout the day and the title came from a collective team effort that tested the depth of his team.

“We had a lot of kids that haven’t played a lot for us get a lot of reps today and I thought they did some great things,” said Dyer.

Archer and the five other Gwinnett County schools (Norcross, North Gwinnett, Collins Hill, Mill Creek, Brookwood) competing in the 15-team tournament dominated. When facing teams outside of Gwinnett County, the Gwinnett schools went a combined 21-4.

North Gwinnett earned the top seed with its 32-26 win over Collins Hill, 24-14 win over Carrollton, 11-8 victory over Brookwood and 34-9 win over Blessed Trinity in pool play. However, brothers Josh and Daniel Imatorbhebhe are key pieces to the Bulldogs receiving corps and they were on college visits and could not make the tournament. North Gwinnett advanced to the quarterfinals with a bye in the first round, but fell 27-18 to McEachern. Norcross swept its way into the tournament as No. 2 seed but suffered its only loss in the semifinals to Archer in the elimination bout.

Archer took the No. 3 seed and beat Blessed Trinity 32-20 in the opening round before pulling out a 16-15 victory over Collins Hill in the quarterfinals to set up its rematch with Norcross. In the championship, Tiller drove the Tigers down the field on the opening possession and they never trailed despite McEachern’s best effort and two long touchdown passes from the Indians’ sophomore quarterback Bailey Hockman.

“McEachern stood out as one of the more physical teams, but I thought we all were today,” admitted Dyer. “These are really good football teams out here competing.”

There were 12 of the 14 2014 Metro PCS Corky Kell teams that participated in the 15-team 7-on-7 tournament and a total of 74 games were played. However, just one game pinned two opponents that will also square off in the Corky Kell Classic in nine weeks. McEachern and North Gwinnett are the last game of this year’s two-day Corky Kell lineup and the Indians took a 27-18 second-round win over North Gwinnett in their 7-on-7 matchup.

Centennial pulled off a 30-23 win over Sandy Creek in the first round for one of the day’s notable upsets, but fell short to Mill Creek 40-34 in the second round. Mill Creek pushed McEachern to the brink in the semis, but lost 34-32.

Archer looked sharp and focused from the opening game until the final whistle. 7-on-7 tournaments do not count in the win column in the fall but Dyer believes this tournament is a reflection the type of effort and focus his team has delivered throughout the offseason and is carrying into 2014.


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