COVINGTON -- For the second week in a row, Eastside's football team find themselves in a must-win if they hope to control their own playoff destiny as they travel to the North Georgia mountains to take on Lumpkin County at the Burial Grounds in Dahlonega.
Even though the Eagles have a better overall record at 4-2, compared to Lumpkin County at 2-4, both team have the same record in Region 8-AAAA play at 2-1.
"They're in the same position we are, they're 2-1 (region)," Eastside head coach Rick Hurst said. "Even though they're 2-4, they're fighting for a playoff spot just like we are. It's going to be a big game for both of us."
Offensively, the Indians are well balanced running and throwing half the time. Like the Eagles offense, Lumpkin County run a lot of various plays out of the same look. For Eastside to be successful in stopping the Indians, who have averaged 24 points in their last two games, they have to make sure the line up in the right spot and play hard every time they step on the field. The Eagles learned what can happen by not doing that as they almost lost after going up 20-0 heading into the final quarter last week. The Eagles held on to beat Lanier 20-14.
"I thought we were laxed in the second half. We were up 20-0 and I thought our kids took a deep breath and thought it was going to be easy. Next thing we know we're in a mess," Hurst said. "Hopefully, we learned you can't do that."
When Eastside has the ball, they have to be careful not to let the Indians fool their front line as they like to blitz and move with a lot of stunts.
"What we have to do is figure out when they're coming, which has been tough looking at them on film. They do a pretty good job disguising it," Hurst said.
One aspect of Eastside's running game which is being pieced together is their running game. Even though Alex Smith is a steady force in the backfield, the Eagles are still without Jomondi Smith who hurt his ankle two weeks ago. However, with Anthony Henderson back in the line up and two sophomores that have proven themselves worthy of a start, Hurst feels that his backfield can get the job done.
"We have capable guys, a couple of sophomores we feel good with in Carlos Huggings and Landon Moore," Hurst said. "It gives us some depth back there even without Jomondi.
"On film, they've been vulnerable to the pass and that's an area we've been good at. If we're able to run the football we'll run it and do some play action and if we're not then we'll drop back and find the open receiver. The biggest thing is to put pressure on the (Eastside) offensive line to get those blocks, especially when they're stunting. It's a challenge for us, one we're looking forward to doing."