IF YOU GO
• Who: Stockbridge Tigers (5-1, 3-1) at Eastside Eagles (4-3, 3-2)
• When: 7:30 p.m. today
• Where: Homer Sharp Stadium
• Last week: Eastside lost to Drew 28-21, Stockbridge beat Henry County 9-7
• Series: Eastside leads 1-0
• Last meeting: Eastside won 21-0 (Oct. 15, 2010)
COVINGTON -- The Eagles are hoping that a big and boisterous home crowd will help to turn things around after losing two games as they play Stockbridge for homecoming at 7:30 p.m. today.
"The crowd is going to be good, whether they're there to see us or halftime; I think our kids respond well to that. That was a problem last week; it was a dead environment. Our kids have been in a lot of great atmosphere a lot of the season this year and they seem to play well in that type of environment," Eastside head coach Rick Hurst said. "I hope our crowd will be big and give our guys a home feel and be loud so we can respond well. It ought to be a good match up. I hope everyone comes out."
Just two weeks ago the Eagles (4-3, 3-2) were sitting on top of Region 4-AAA along with AP Class AAA No. 1-ranked Sandy Creek. Now the Eagles are in the middle of the pack after losing to Sandy Creek and a 28-21 loss to Drew last week.
A loss to Stockbridge (5-1, 3-1) would put the Eagles in a precarious playoff situation.
"That's something we don't want to think about. We're not even talking about playoffs, we're just concentrating on winning this game and get back on track and do the things necessary to put us in position (to make the playoffs)," Hurst said. "It is a big game for us, our kids know that. They prepared like it this week."
Strangely enough, Eastside was in the same situation last season as it headed to Stockbridge after losing to Sandy Creek and Drew. That was the game where the Eagles defense found themselves and beat Stockbridge 21-0.
"We went over there in the same spot and handled them a little bit," Hurst said. "I thought our defense had a breakout game that week. We played well all year but Shaquille (Huff) really stepped up and played well."
For Eastside's defense to get the win it is going to have to stop the Tigers' option-style offense. In order to do that it will have to be disciplined and play its gaps.
Offensively, the Eagles will have to find a way to stop turning the ball over while sustaining drives to put points on the board.
"We match well with them as long as we do what we're suppose to do and execute. That's been the big thing, lack of execution in spots that has hurt us," Hurst said. "That's what we have to eliminate. Hopefully (today) we'll be able to put it together."