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Eagles dominated in 24-7 loss

HARTWELL - The Eastside Eagles were totally dominated defensively by Hart County's running game, while offensively the Eagles were unable to move the ball in their 24-7 loss Friday at Peter Herndon Stadium.

"They were kicking our tail on both sides of the football," Eastside coach Rick Hurst said. "We weren't ready to play and that was my fault. It won't happen again."

Hart County's domination offensively led to the Bulldogs (3-3 overall, 2-1 Region 8-AAA) gaining 391 yards of total offense, 322 coming on the ground.

The Eagles (5-1, 2-1), who normally move the ball at will, were stifled in the first quarter with two yards of total offense.

Their running was atrocious with minus-18 yards on the ground on 17 carries.

Broderick Alexander was Eastside's leading rusher with four carries for three yards.

Eastside quarterback Justin Wray was 17-for-25 with 257 yards passing, 141 yards coming in the last quarter.

Eastside finished the game with 239 yards of total offense, with 143 coming in the fourth period.

The Bulldogs set the tone early running the ball eight out of nine plays before Keitius Harper rumbled into the end zone 32 yards out on a fourth and three play.

Hart County had a short field, on Eastside's 35, after recovering a bobbled punt snap, but Eastside's defense was able to keep Hart County off the board, keeping the score 7-0.

After Eastside gained 64 yards on a Wray to Andrico Bailey pass in their first play of the second period, the Bulldogs kept the Eagles off the board by blocking a 29-yard field goal attempt.

Hart County made it 10-0 to close the first half on a 25-yard Rowland field goal with 2:39 left in the first half after getting the ball on Eastside's 37 following a short punt.

Eastside had a chance to get back into the game after getting the ball on the 40-yard line. However, a personal foul call pushed them back to the 25.

Eastside's J.T. Thorne tried to give the Eagles the momentum, intercepting Landon Beck's pass on Eastside's 25-yard line.

Unfortunately for Eastside, the Bulldogs were able to get the ball back by recovering an Eastside fumble.

Hart County took advantage of the turnover when Josh Carey took a short pass from Landon Beck for an 18-yard touchdown five minutes into the second half.

The Eagles got on the board with 9:24 left to play on a 16-yard reception by Bailey from Wray.

Hart County answered Eastside's score with a 35-yard Beck run three minutes later.

The Eagles had a chance to stop Beck but rather than tackling the quarterback they tried to knock him down. Beck was able to keep his balance and run the final 20 yards for the score.

The Bulldogs were paced in their running game by John Blackwell who had 151 yards rushing on 19 carries.

Manny Fils can be reached at mannyfils@newtoncitizen.com.