Eastside has balancing act to make
COVINGTON -- Even though Eastside would like to beat AP Class AAAA No. 4-ranked Monroe Area tonight, finishing the season healthy is probably a bigger issue.
A win or loss by the Eagles (6-3 overall, 4-2 Region 8-AAAA) will not change their standing in the region seeding just as nothing can happen to knock the Purple Hurricanes (9-0, 6-0) off their region championship.
While Eastside cannot afford to lose any more key players due to injuries, it cannot afford to sit its key players and play non-starters either. The Eagles need to finish their regular season on a high note after losing to Stephens County 23-7 last week before heading to No. 1-ranked Sandy Creek for the first round of the playoffs.
Offensively, the Eagles have done a good job of keeping a balance of running and throwing plays. Eastside running backs have gained 1,495 yards on the ground running the ball 60 percent of the time while gaining 1,058 yards on 148 passing attempts and 105 completions.
Pacing Eastside's running game is Alex Smith, who has 605 yards on 97 carries and 11 touchdowns. As the Eagles quarterback, Demario Terrell has completed the pass 103 times on 146 throws for 1,046 yards including 10 touchdowns.
Terrell's main targets are Cameron Boyd, who has 17 catches for 321 yards and three touchdowns, and Smith with 22 receptions for 257 yards and two touchdowns.
Even though the Eagles have been averaging 33 points a game, they may have a hard time maintaining that average against a defense that is allowing less than 14 points.
Eastside's defense has done a good job this season, allowing 20 points per game and having one shutout. Plus, it has helped put points on the board, scoring five touchdowns. The Eagles also have a knack for stopping drives with 12 interceptions and five fumble recoveries. Leading the Eagles in picking off the ball were Isaiah James with three followed by William Gann, Jamal Hardge and Boyd with two each.
However, the Hurricanes are not the usual opponent, averaging 47 points a game, including a season high of 63 points against Madison County.