Eastside-Cairo likely to be a shootout

COVINGTON - You've heard the saying over and over again that defense wins games.

Tonight, that could very well change when Eastside visits Cairo in the quarterfinals of the Class AAA playoffs.

Both are explosive teams on not just the defensive side of the ball, but also the offensive end.

Overall, the Eagles (11-1) have scored a combined 367 points - nine more than the Syrupmakers (11-0) - for an average of 30.6 points per game.

Both teams operate similarly using a spread attack, creating problems on the defensive side of the ball.

This season, Eastside has scored at least 34 points in six games. Its season-high came against Jackson County on Oct. 17 with a 50-0 blowout.

Conversely, Cairo has tallied at least 30 points in seven games, with a season-high 48 coming on Nov. 14 in a shutout over Troup in the first round of the playoffs.

"At this point in time, the top eight teams are the cream of the crop," Eastside coach Rick Hurst said earlier this week, "and I felt like going into this year we had a chance. But we just kept talking about not looking ahead, and that's one thing we haven't done; we haven't said a word about who we're playing from week to week."

Last week, Cairo allowed more than 400 yards and a season-high 28 points against Burke County during a 41-28 win in the second round of the playoffs.

It was 18 more points than Cairo had allowed all season, and the most in three years. In addition, Eastside operates similarly to Burke by spreading the ball around, which should cause plenty of concern for the Cairo coaching staff.

In last week's 21-9 win over Carrollton, which propelled the Eagles into the quarterfinals for the first time ever, Eastside recorded 354 yards of total offense, half by air and half on the ground.

For Eastside, it's been one game at a time. And after its historic victory over Carrollton, Hurst made that abundantly clear.

"I said, 'look, we're 2-0 and we got three more to go, and that's just been the approach.'"

Jason Murdock can be reached at jason.murdock@rockdalecitizen.com.

SideBar: Eastside at Cairo

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Where: Cairo High School

Tickets: $10

Series: First meeting