COVINGTON -- A banged-up Eastside offensive is going to have to find a way to play without several key offensive players in their quest for a Region 4-AAA championship when the Eagles travel to Spalding on Friday.
Out or questionable for Friday's game are running backs Alex Smith, Nick Broadwater and Jamondi Smith, wide receivers Quon Moton and Matt Hitchcock, lineman Jared Floyd and place kicker Cody Sandler.
"It's not going to be an easy task, especially when you go in with a half-loaded gun like we are with all our injuries. It's not a good position to be in," Eastside head coach Rick Hurst said. "It's something I've ever experienced as a coach, here or anywhere else."
Even though Eastside (3-1, 2-0) have a lot going against them, that does not mean that Hurst is going to throw in the towel or give his team an excuse to play poorly. Regardless of who is on the field, Hurst expects those players to play Eastside-style football by running the ball and taking advantage of every situation they have.
Two things that they have going their way are running back Chavis Griggs and that they will actually be the bigger team.
In his first four games, Griggs is averaging 4.9 yards per carry with 322 yards on the ground. He has also scored three touchdowns for Eastside.
"Chavis is playing as well as anybody right now in the region as far as running back is concerned. He's having a monster year and continues to," Hurst said. "We have to ride him and take advantage of some size issues.
"We might actually be bigger than this group which might be rare. We have to make sure we try to play physical and take care of the football."
When the Jaguars (1-3, 0-2) have the ball, Eastside's defense is going to have to be patient and play their assignment against Spalding's Wing-T offense. Even though they only have one win, 28-21 over LaGrange, their losses have been against quality opponents. They have a 3-0 overtime loss to Griffin and a 31-7 loss to GACA Class AAA No. 10 ranked Stockbridge.
"I think they're a much-improved team from last year. They're a lot more physical and seem to be playing with a lot more confidence. They're really getting after it," Hurst said. "They (Eastside defense) have to continue to play well. We have to make sure we read our keys and stay home and the defensive line does a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage like they have all year.
"It's like I told the kids, I'm not going to make excuses; it's part of the game. We're going to go with what we've got.
The silver lining is that you have some guys that haven't played and probably wouldn't get to play if it wasn't for this. It's not the best scenario to go into, especially when you're trying to win a region championship."