COVINGTON - They don't do it for the glory. They do because they love it.
Eastside's offensive linemen saw what they could do when they work together.
Last week against Elbert County, Eastside's running game gained 340 yards, scoring three of the Eagles' four touchdowns on the ground.
Even though their running backs are the ones that get all the attention, the linemen know they made it possible.
"It makes us feel good. It means that we got the job done," Eastside center Dalton Temple said. "That's what we're there to do - (the running backs are) there to get the glory and us to push along. When you're a lineman, that's how it works. You do what you've got to do, and you have the superstars behind you working."
Making that happen with Temple are tackles Jarrett Hubbard and Dane McClone and guards Lane Dobbs and Lincoln Temple.
"They saw what they could do when they work as a group. If you can establish a new line of scrimmage, you're going to win the ball game," Eastside coach Rick Hurst said. "Every week we talk about those guys setting the tone. That's what we have to do Friday night. They (Stephens County) are not a big blitzing team. They line up in a four-man front, three-man front and say, 'Here we are. If you beat us, you beat us.'"
That offensive line is going to be the key to keeping Eastside (2-2 overall, 1-0 Region 8-AAA) in the top half of the region by establishing the running game with Git Aiken and Greg Griffieth.
"We want to establish a run because it creates a new line of scrimmage and keeps that defense off the field and it takes pressure off the quarterback," Hurst said. "Right now that's important. Those are the things we feel we need to do."
The Eagles should be able to keep an Indians' (1-3, 0-1) defense that's allowed 108 points off-balance.
Stephens County's defense is made up of inexperienced players who tend to allow confusion to set in, giving Aiken and Griffieth a chance for another big game. Hurst is still a little optimistic about how bad the Indians defense really is considering who they've played.
Two of Stephens County's first four games were against Class AAA's No. 8 Larange and No. 9 Flowery Branch. The Indians also played Hart County. Their only win (14-0) came against Seneca (S.C.), an 0-5 team that has scored 29 points and given up 129.
"I think they're a better football team than their 1-3 record indicates. They've had some people move because of the economy, and it's hit them hard because they've had to move some people around," Hurst said. "He (Indian's coach Travis Noland) is not making excuses, that's just what's happening.
"It looks like sometimes everybody on the defensive side doesn't look like they know where they're supposed to be. That shows that they're kind of young and haven't played together long."
If Eastside's front line can open holes and push the defenders downfield for the running game and protect the quarterback on throwing plays, the confidence it will give them could go beyond the next game.
"Stephens County is going to tell us a lot," Temple said. "If we move well and the line stays together, I think we'll be fine for the rest of the year."
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.
SideBar: If you go
· Who: Eastside Eagles (2-2) at Stephens County Indians (1-3)
· Where: Stephens County High School, 6438 White Pine Road, Toccoa
· When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
· Last week: Eastside beat Elbert County 25-7; Stephens County lost to Hart County 32-20.
· Series: Stephens County leads 4-1
· Last season: Eastside won 36-22