COVINGTON - The Eastside Eagles dominated the play in the first quarter enough to not only take a big lead but also to set the tempo for the game as the Eagles beat Alcovy 24-3 on Friday at Homer Sharp Stadium.
Eastside (6-2 overall, 2-2 Region 8-AAAA South) did everything right in the first quarter as Justin Wray threw for 70 yards, including a 38-yard completion to Johnny Norrington and a 32-yard completion to Antarious Terrell. Eastside also gained 96 yards on 11 carries, including a 41-yard scramble by Larenzo Echols.
The Eagles were set to run away with the game, scoring 14 points in the first quarter while holding Alcovy (2-6, 1-3) to 62 yards of total offense.
While they were able to do much of the same in the second quarter, adding 152 yards to their total, the difference was the Tigers refused to allow Eastside to cross the goal line.
"It's a situation that besides that first quarter, we were playing pretty well. We were doing good things, and if we get them, all right, if we didn't, let's play defense," Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffman said. "I thought we bounced right back. One of the things that this team is doing that we weren't doing earlier is that when we have a bad play, we're bouncing back with a good play."
In that second quarter, Eastside was stopped once on a mishandled punt snap, resulting in Alcovy getting the ball on downs.
Alcovy again stopped the Eagles after a nine-play, 60-yard drive. Helping the Tigers stop Eastside was sophomore Bryan Daniels. He finished the night with four tackles and three broken passes, one of which could have been intercepted.
"He's a 10th-grader. He got hurt, came back and said 'Coach, I can go,'" Hoffman said. "We're there, we just have to keep battling."
The Tigers came out ready to take the fight to Eastside after Gary Wilkins, another sophomore, intercepted a Wray pass.
Alcovy took the ball 47 yards where Timothy Walsh cut into Eastside's advantage with a 30-yard field goal.
The Tigers continued to move the ball, but Eastside's defense refused to budge as Alcovy got close to scoring.
After the field goal, Eastside's defense stopped Alcovy on the 14-yard line, giving the Eagles' offense the ball.
They stopped Alcovy again in the second play of the fourth quarter with an interception.
Alcovy's other three possessions ended with two punts and the end of the game.
"They played their butts off. They took away the run, and I was worried about that all night long, and then they took away the pass, too. We played extremely well," Eastside head coach Rick Hurst said.
Despite the loss, the Tigers still have a chance to get the fourth spot in Region 8-AAAA South with a win over Heritage next week.
The Eagles have third locked up with tiebreakers over Alcovy and Heritage.
Following a two-yard Alcovy punt, Eastside took its opening drive 51 yards in six plays to take a 7-0 lead with 7:38 following a Yanrick Tinker extra-point kick.
Allowing Echols to score the 1-yard run was a 38-yard completion from Wray to Norrington.
Wray put the Eagles on the board again with 3:05 remaining in the first quarter with an 18-yard run.
Tinker ended the scoring in the first half with a 27-yard field goal with 11 seconds left.
Alcovy fought back and took the fight to Eastside to start the second half.
The Tigers' persistence paid off as Timothy Walsh closed the gap with 30-yard field goal six minutes into the third frame.
Eatside sealed Alcovy's fate with less than 1:20 left ot play on a 5-yard run by Rashad Hill.
Hill finished the night as Eastside's top rusher with 78 yards on nine touches.
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.