Covington By Manny Fils
COVINGTON — Eastside place kicker Colton Smith made the field goal when it really mattered after missing four field goals go give the Eagles the 10-7 win over Jackson after on Friday.
In the first half, Smith had three attempts to put the Eagles (3-1 overall, 2-0 Region 4-AAA) on the board but he was unable to put the ball through.
The first kick, a 47-yarder, was on line but it fell short of the cross bar. The second try, 46 yards, had the distance but was wide right. The third was wide left from 38 yards out. Smith also missed a 29-yards attempt in the third quarter.
Even after missing four field goals, Smith was able to put to one through the uprights from 19 yards out with two seconds in regulation.
“I knew he had it in him if we got him in the middle to line him up and that’s what we did,” Eastside head coach Rick Hurst said. “It’s a huge boost for his confidence.”
The play which allowed Smith to get the chance to win the game was on a fourth and one from the 28. Chavis Griggs, who had fumbled in the third quarter, took the ball and gained 14 yards.
Griggs had 22 carries from 105 yards and one touchdown in the win.
"I told him (Griggs) before the game, I wanted to know who’s going to say ’coach give me the ball.’ That right there proved that he wants it in a clutch situation. Our offensive line did a great job, tight ends did a great job of caving them down in the corner on fourth and one. We just got in a position to win the football game,” Hurst said.
“I wanted to give Colton the chance to win the ball game. That could come back later on for us. He had a bad night and then he lines it up and kicks it through. I was scared that they could break through the line, they’ve done it a couple of times getting some penetration. I didn’t want us to get a loss for a yard and get out of position to have a punch through to win it. I just choose to kick the field goal and it turned out good.”
But Smith was not Eastside’s only scoring opportunities that were blown. After taking their opening drive 72 yards to the Jackson (1-3, 0-2) 3-yard line, Eagles quarterback Cameron Boyd threw an interception in the end zone when Marciano Allen dove in front of the receiver to get the ball. Allen also disrupted Eastside’s second touchdown threat with his second interception coming in the second frame.
Boyd finished the game going 13-for-22 with two interceptions for 107 yards.
The Eagles had three good chances in the first half to put the ball in the end zone instead of setting for field goals. After getting the ball inside of Jackson’s 35-yard line because of poor punts,Eastside’s offense was unable to move the ball forcing Smith to try the two 40-plus yard tries. His third try came after the Eagles offense again failed to move the ball after getting it on the Red Devils 16-yard line as a result of a negative six yard punt.
Boyd did throw a touchdown but it was negated after an offensive pass interference penalty.
It seemed like Eastside was going to start to have things go their way when they blocked a punt giving the Eagles the ball on the Jackson 24-yard line early in the third period.
After Jamondi Smith (10—85) ran the ball to the 2-yard line, it took Griggs two attempts to put find the end zone with 10:02 left in the third.
Eastside’s defense stepped up to the challenge of keeping the Red Devils from scoring with a Dante Blackmon interception. But the Eagles were unable to convert the turnover to points after missing a 47 yard field goal.
The Eagles defense again stopped Jackson from continuing their drive toward tying the game when Jamal Hardge picked off Ben Cawthon giving the Eagles the ball on their 38-yard line.
The Eagles defense held the Red Devils to a total of 47 yards of offense, 41 passing and six rushing. Of Jackson’s 20 running plays, eight was for negative yardage.
“The defense played their butts off and kept us in the game and made some plays,” Hurst said.
But Eagles returned the favor when Kaleb Sims picked up a Griggs fumble returning it to the 5-yard line. It appeared as if the Eagles would again stop Jackson when Blake Rouse sacked Cawthon for a 7-yard loss putting Jackson in a fourth and goal from the 15. But Jackson wide receiver Dorian Davis fought hard to barely get the ball into the end zone of a Cawthon pass with 2:38 left in the third quarter.
Jackson had a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter but a couple of missed field goals by Hannah Kline and Caleb Washington were off their mark. The second attempt came following another Eastside fumble.
With time running out and starting their drive the Jackson 20, the Eagles found our just how strong they really are. Wanting to redeem himself, Griggs put the game in his hands seven times for 64 yards. Boyd also helped with two passes to freshman Nick Broadwater for 14 yards giving the Eastside kicker the chance to get the win.
“When the offense had to make a drive they did it. It was an overall team effort,” Hurst said.
“What can you say about these kids. They faced a lot of adversity a lot of things went against us in the first half. Then in the second it seemed like we just couldn’t get anything going.”