COVINGTON - For years, stickers have been used in schools to show the brightest and the best. Being a member of Eastside's football team is no different.
While pride, honor and self-esteem can make athletes feel good on the inside, helmet stickers are something that let spectators know they have done a great job on the field and in the classroom.
"I have one side of my helmet filled up with them," Eastside linebacker/receiver Zach Johnston said. "It's a motivation thing. It gets us all excited. We like having it. It shows how much we've improved. Everyone wants to have the most stickers on the team. I got mine for tackles, catches and stuff like that."
Among the stickers on Johnston's helmet are two for his player of the week for his performances against Newton and Stephens County.
Even though the Eagles had a few stickers handed out in during last year's 7-3 season, they were small and hard to see from the sidelines.
But this season, the stickers on the helmets, primarily those of quarterback Justin Wray, running back Broderick Alexander and linebacker Hunter Parker, can be seen from the rafters.
While seeing all those markings on the helmets may look intimidating, Eastside coach Rick Hurst, who started the sticker program when he came to the school four years ago, said that's not their purpose.
"They're more for pride and self-esteem," he said. "It also tells the opponents who the main players are."
The various helmet stickers, earned on criteria based on positions, are talons, pride, player of the week, skulls and crossbones, and stars.
For example, if the team rushes for more than 200 yards or passes for more than 100 yards, the offensive line gets a talon. The entire team also gets one for a win.
"There are freshmen that have stickers just because they dressed out when we won," Hurst said.
Just like the bones on the University of Georgia helmets, not all stickers are for accomplishments on the football field.
"If you look on the Georgia helmets, they have white and black bones. The white ones are for athletic, while the black ones are for nonathletic (events) that the players do like community service," Hurst explained.
The skull and crossbones stickers are for big hits on the field, while the stars are for academics.
The silver stickers are for straight A's. The white stickers are for A's and B's on weekly progress reports.
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SideBar: Carrollton at Eastside
What: Class AAA playoffs, second round
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Homer Sharp Stadium
Tickets: $8; GHSA passes only