COVINGTON - The Eastside Eagles are going to have to put the Creekview Grizzlies in their place quickly if they hope to remain in the hunt for the Class AAA football championship.
The Grizzlies (6-4), who enter tonight's game as the No. 4 seed from Region 7-AAA, come into Homer Sharp Stadium with a lot of confidence on their side having thoroughly beaten their opponents in the last six games.
They have outscored the other teams 276-56 including 33-0 and 40-0 shutout wins over White County and Gilmer.
Of their four losses to start the season, three of those teams, Sequoyah, Flowery Branch and North Hall, advanced to the state playoffs themselves.
Also adding to Creekview's self-assurance that they belong on the same field as No. 9 Eastside (9-1) is the fact that they made it to the state playoffs on their first try.
Creekview is a fourth-year school having played a non-varsity schedule their first year and a non-region schedule the last two.
The Grizzlies finished the last two years with a combined record of 16-4 going 9-1 last year.
Unlike most established teams whose quarterback and other key players have to wait until their junior year to get serious varsity playing time, these guys have been working hard for four years preparing for their chance to finally make it to a playoff game.
The Grizzlies play a wing-T offense and are led by fourth-year starter Collins Wold.
Out of the wing-T, Wold, who plays under center rather than in a shotgun formation, is a threat to run or pass the ball.
In Creekview's final game against Chestatee, a game which they won 69-35, Wold was 6 of 13 for 164 yards and two touchdowns.
His primary targets are juniors Justin Wright and Dillon Mulkey and senior Jon Husband.
Husband found himself on the receiving end on both of Wold's touchdown passes against Chestatee.
Creekview's main running threat is junior Hunter Livingston, who led the team with 152 yards on 14 carries and four touchdowns against Chestatee.
This is also a huge game for the Eagles after going 0-10 in Rick Hurst's first year in 2005.
The last time Eastside made it to the playoffs was in 2001, the last year they were in Class AAA. In that game, the Eagles lost to North Forsyth 28-0.
Eastside had been to the playoffs two other times in 1997 and 1998. The Eagles beat Central (Carrollton) 48-12 before losing to Clarkston 14-12 in 1997. Eastside lost the year after 43-3 to Villa Rica in the first round of the playoffs.
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SideBar: Creekview at Eastside
· Who: Region 7-AAA No. 4 seed Creekview Grizzlies (6-4) at Region 8-AAA No. 1 seed Eastside Eagles (9-1)
· When: 7:30 p.m., tonight
· Where: Homer Sharp Stadium
· Price: $8, GHSA passes only
· Last week: Creekview beat Chestatee 69-35; Eastside beat Franklin County 34-0