Eastside seeks perfection against Sandy Creek

COVINGTON -- Even the mighty Achilles had a weakness. And apparently so does Sandy Creek.

The problem Eastside (4-1 overall, 3-0 in Region 4-AAA) is going to face is trying to take advantage of it when the two square off in the battle of the region unbeatens on 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Homer Sharp Stadium.

"I've looked at more film this week than I have in a while. You try to find something that might give you a leg up. The only thing I've seen is that there have been some returns on them in the kicking game where they've been able to get big chunks of yards and put it on the other side of the field," Eastside head coach Rick Hurst said. "But their defense is so good they're still having a hard time scoring. That's the only thing I've seen. They're a really solid football team."

If Eastside can find a way to beat Sandy Creek (4-0, 3-0), they will stop the 11th longest winning streak in state history. The last time the Patriots had a blemish on their record was on Aug. 28, 2009, when they were on the losing end of a 28-27 game against East Coweta. Since then they have won 32 straight. Tied with Sandy Creek with 32 consecutive wins are East Rome (1977-79) and Buford (2007-09). The 2001-04 Buford team has the longest winning streak set at 47.

When the Eagles travel to Sandy Creek last season, they were close to winning as they were only six points down with six minutes left in the game. But the Patriots were able to score two touchdowns to get the 30-10 win.

Not only has Hurst remind them of that this week, he feels that they have a chance to possibly pull off the upset.

"We said we can shock the world this week. Nobody has given us a chance out of this locker room. We can play with them, there's no doubt about it, and we can beat them. Anybody is beatable; there's nobody invincible in this sport," Hurst said. "My mind set is we're going in to win. Our kids believe we can if we play the way we're capable of playing.

"I don't think they've played anybody that's balanced and do the things that we do. I think we're the best team they're going to play or have played. We're going to try to make them earn every point they get."

Eastside's defense has been good only giving up 53 points all season. Unfortunately, Sandy Creek's defense has been a little better giving up 37 points. Offensively, the Eagles average 21 points a game scoring 106 points in their five games. But the Patriots have done better scoring 161 points in four games for an average of 40 points.

What makes Sandy Creek's offense so potent is that they can hurt a defense on the ground as well as in the air.

Against Henry County, Patriots quarterback Cole Garvin had 287 yards passing with four touchdowns going 11-of-20. His main target was Demarre Kitt who had 119 yards on six receptions.

When they ran the ball, freshman Jayland Home ran the ball for 72 yards on eight carries.

"Their offense is better than anything we've seen. They can throw, they can run, they're just well balanced. They have a great quarterback that can put it on the money and can throw it on time. They have a wide out that's committed to Alabama and another one that's just as good," Hurst said. "Their running back is committed to Ole Miss. They're able to mix it up well and keep you off balance so you can't roll up and take away the run because they can beat you throwing the football."

When Eastside has the ball, they are going to have to pick up their passing game if they hope to keep Sandy Creek's defense off balance. In a win against Spalding last week, Cameron Boyd was 8-of-13 for 99 yards while Chavis Griggs led the Eagles running game with 182 yards on 33 touches including two touchdowns.

"It's the best (defensive) front we've seen. They're comparative to Newton and maybe a bit better. We had trouble against them but we were still able to stay in the game due to our defense," Hurst said. "It's going to take a monumental effort on our part in all three phases of the game for us to have a chance to win the ball game."

If you go

• Who: Sandy Creek Patriots (4-0, 3-0) at Eastside Eagles (4-1, 3-0)

• When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

• Where: Homer Sharp Stadium

• Last week: Sandy Creek defeated Henry County 34-17; Eastside bested Spalding 20-7

• Series: Sandy Creek leads 1-0

• Last meeting: Sandy Creek won 30-10 (Oct. 1, 2010)