Eastside to battle Elbert

COVINGTON - Elbert County is bringing a running game that Eastside has not seen this season.

The Blue Devils have averaged 279 yards on the ground in their last three games, including 324 against Butler (Augusta) in their last game.

Even though they run the ball 85 percent of the time, quarterback Robert Huff also can throw it into the secondary.

"They've showed some success on play action. They're pretty good about getting everybody sucked up playing the run and then they pass it in the flat and get it by the corner and get a big play," Eastside coach Rick Hurst said. "That's something that we've got to do, make sure the corners are reading and not selling to the run and get a big play behind them."

Elbert County likes to spread the ball around among its backfield. Gaining 100 yards or more in one game are Valdon Cooper (107 against Butler and 100 against Social Circle) and Austin Jones (113 yards on six carries against Riverside Military Academy).

Despite Elbert County's running prowess, Hurst feels confident that it hasn't come up against a defense and a game plan like his yet.

"We've got a good game plan that will hopefully put them in some long yardage situations and get them to do something they don't like doing," he said.

While the Eagles' defense has proven time and time again that it can keep teams out of the end zone, allowing a little over 11 points per game, their problem is sustaining drives without shooting themselves in the foot.

If Eastside is to put its two back-to-back losses behind it, something that has not happened to since its 2007 season, and start its Region 8-AAA schedule with a win, it must find a way to get everyone on the offensive side of the ball to focus and work together without making any mistakes.

The last time Eastside lost three in a row was Hurst's first season, 2005, when it went 0-10 as part of a 24-game losing streak starting with previous head coach Jeff Van Tone.

"It's something we consistently work on and something we're trying to get better at. We move the ball down the field from 20 (yard line) to 20. We just haven't been able to come out of the red zone with points and that's always a concern," Hurst said. "We feel good about what we do. It's just a matter of execution and getting all 11 players to do their job on every play."

SideBar: At a glance

· Who: Elbert County Blue Devils (3-0) at Eastside Eagles (1-2)

· Where: Homer Sharp Stadium

· When: 7:30 p.m. today

· Last week: Both teams had a bye week

· Series: Eastside leads 3-2

· Last season: Eastside won 36-22