Eagles rely on defense in 20-6 victory

COVINGTON - Eastside's defense came to play as they gave up a total of 159 yards to Alcovy in their 20-6 win Friday at Homer Sharp Stadium.

Alcovy rushed for 120 yards for the night with 67 of those coming on a PJ Thompkins run in the first quarter.

Out of Alcovy's eight possessions, five of them were three-play series and the final possession of the first half ended when the Tigers failed to make a first down on a fourth down play.

The Eagles held Alcovy to four first downs for the entire game, two per half.

"We gave up 100 yards at halftime and 67 of them was on one run. We have a lot of kids playing both ways. I don't care if we score three points. If we put our best players on defense we'll win ball games," Eastside head coach Rick Hurst said.

What hurt Eastside were the Eagles' turnovers and penalties hurt their chances to take a commanding lead as Justin Wray threw two interceptions in the second quarter while the team had seven first-half penalties for 70 yards.

Both interceptions were caught inside Eastside's 20-yard line.

Eastside had 12 penalties for 110 yard while Alcovy had seven for 60.

"They're physical, that's one thing that I give them. They took it to us a few times. We just outlasted them," Hurst said. "They did some things that messed up our blocking schemes and we have to go back and work on it. We probably should have run some screens to slow them down more. But as coaches we have to we have to work on getting better every week."

Even with Eastside stopping themselves giving Alcovy hope, the Tigers were unable to take advantage of it. After intercepting the ball inside the 20 yard line, Alcovy went three and out.

"They're pretty good defensively too. They have big kids up front and we did things right we looked ok," Alcovy head coach Kirk Hoffmann said.

Defensively, the Tigers tried to adjust to Eastside's running game but injuries kept them from playing to the best they could.

The Eagles finished the game with 265 yards on 37 carries. They also had 69 yards of passing with Wray going 5-for-11 with two interceptions.

"We tried to make some adjustments then we couldn't make it because we had some kids that played banged up. We played hurt, we played hard and that's all I can ask of these kids," Hoffmann said.

"Defensively, I have to take my hat off to my kids. We played hard, we played assignments and when we missed tackles we were swarming to the football. That's what kept us in this thing."

Wray had 68 yards on 13 carries while Greg Griffith had 67 yards on six touches.

Tony Atwater and Git Aiken also has good nights running the back with Atwater going for 44 yard while Aiken had 47. Each rusher had five carries.

Andrico Bailey paced the receiver with one catch for 38 yards.

For Alcovy, PJ Thompkins paced the Tigers on the ground with 68 yards rushing on six carries. Sixty-seven of those came on one run in the first period.

Malachi Outlaw was held to 30 yards on 12 carries while DeVon Baker had two carries for 25 yards.

Thompkins was 7-of-13 passing for 39 yards with Outlaw gaining 19 of those on two receptions.

Eastside made their first drive look easy as they took the ball 72 yards in six plays capped by a 16-yard Wray run with 9:33 remaining in the first period.

In the first play of the second quarter on a third and goal from the 10, Malachi Outlaw juked his way into the end zone after catching a delayed screen pass from PJ Thompkins.

The Eagles extended their lead to 14-6 with 1:46 left in the first half following a 9-yard Tony Atwater dash.

After Eastside's defense held Alcovy to their fifth three and out of the game, the Eagles marched the ball 65 yards with 10 running plays to take a 20-6 advantage with 2:39 remaining in the game.

"We wanted to establish the run when we came out and we did that," Hurst said. "I'm real proud of our offensive line and our running backs for taking it right down the field."

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.