COVINGTON - Don't let Morgan County's 1-7 record fool you. Eastside is going to face a formable opponent when the teams collide at 7:30 p.m today in Madison.
"They scare me. They're playing for pride and sometimes that's a scary thing to go up against. They have nothing to lose. They're going to pull out everything in the world to beat us," Eastside coach Rick Hurst said. "They also want to have a say in how the region turns out. They're a dangerous football team that make a huge dent in what we're trying to do."
What makes the Bulldogs dangerous is that this is the first time in 13 years that they have not made it to the playoffs, so now they'll be in the role of a spoiler.
"They run the ball well, but they've had some turnovers and made some mistakes," Hurst said. "They've had some games where they've come out and did some good things. They did some good things against Hart (County), but they made some mistakes and Hart was able to capitalize on them."
The Eagles defense has allowed 100 points this season, while the offense has outscored their opponents 99-7 their last two games.
One big reason why the Eagle defense has been so successful lately is the play of defensive ends Karl Williams and Jacorey Maddox.
"Jacorey has probably been our best linemen against the run. He's really stepped it up the last couple of games," Hurst said. "You put him and Karl in a pass rush situation, I'll take my chances with those two. They're fast, they're physical off the ball and they're relentless in the pursuit of the quarterback."
If the Eagles are to win and guarantee a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2001, the defense is going to have to continue playing well to stop the run.
"I feel like if they have to throw the football, then we're doing our job. We want to set the tone and be physical and make them come out doing something they're not used to doing," Hurst said.
On offense, the Eagles' offensive line has to do is continue providing its backs with running lanes.
"Our offensive line is playing really well right now. They're confident and they're really in sync with one another. Getting Jarrett (Hubbard) back last week was a really big lift for us," Hurst said. "What's important is that our backs in Git (Aiken), Rashad (Hill), BA (Broderick Alexander) and Greg (Griffieth) or whoever is back there, that they find the crease and get into the secondary."
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SideBar: Eastside at Morgan County
When: 7:30 p.m. today
Where: Bill Corey Stadium in Madison
Series: Morgan County leads 2-0
Last meeting: Morgan County beat Eastside 35-14 in 1999