North Gwinnett’s 35-7 victory over McEachern in the nightcap game on Thursday in the Corky Kell Classic presented by Atlanta & North Georgia Building Trades Council featured a little bit of everything from the Bulldogs’ four, and likely soon, five-star Clemson-commit Barrett Carter.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Carter, who will enroll at Clemson in January, is rated the No. 4 linebacker in the nation for the senior class and he showed why on Thursday. In the end, Carter finished with a 7-yard touchdown run from the wildcat formation, a 79-yard interception return for a touchdown and a team-leading 10 tackles, 2.5 for a loss.
Both programs entered the game as if they had missed an offseason and a proper summer of conditioning, camps and 7-on-7s. But, after a scoreless first quarter, North got rolling when Carter found the endzone on a 7-yard touchdown run with 11:54 left in the second quarter to give the Bulldogs the lead. North Gwinnett’s defense shined minutes later when Jayson Gilliom intercepted a Bryce Archie pass and returned it 98 yards for a touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 13-0 lead.
McEachern got on the board with a Mekhi Crawley touchdown run of 11 yards with 9:32 left to trail 13-7 at the half. Just before the end of the third quarter, Marcus MacFarlane pushed the North Gwinnett lead on a 23-yard touchdown run. On the 2-point conversion attempt, Carter completed a jump-pass to Blake Young to expand the lead.
In the fourth quarter, the Ashton Wood scored on a 5-yard touchdown run with three minutes left to give the Bulldogs a 28-7 lead before Carter’s interception put the game far out of reach.
Wood was 8-of-13 passing for 108 yards and one touchdown run. Marcus McFarlane made nine carries for 55 yards and a touchdown. Archie was 21-of-40 passing for 256 yards for McEachern. Crawley had 13 carries for 60 yards and one touchdown. Caleb Brown made eight catches for 124 yards for the Indians.