The Eagles defense found it difficult to stop Stephens County running back Jai Brown (1) as he runs behind sophomore tackle Ben Cleveland (74) during the first half of Friday’s game at Homer Sharp Stadium.
COVINGTON — Eastside’s offense never had a chance to get into a rhythm as their only ran 28 offensive plays in their 30-14 loss to Stephens County at Homer Sharp Stadium on Friday.
The Eagles (5-4 overall, 3-3 Region 8-AAAA) were held to one play in the first quarter and had the ball for two series in the second quarter going three and out each time.
“We just we couldn’t get off the field defensively,” Eastside head coach Rick Hurst said. “Our kids played hard, they played as hard as they possibly could. I’m proud of them. I tell them a lot that’s how we’re suppose to play. We just didn’t make the plays tonight when we were suppose to and we couldn’t get off the field defensively.”
Stephens County (5-4, 3-3) put the ball on the ground in their first series giving the Eagles the ball on the 50-yard line. In one play, Jomandi Smith exploded through the line of scrimmage for a touchdown. But the Indians came back with a 47-yard, 16-play drive taking more than eight minutes resulting in a 25-yard field goal by Jacob Oliver making it 6-3.
They took advantage of an Eastside miscue when the punt on the first series was fumbled giving Stephens County the ball on the 47-yard line following a 24-yard punt. They also converted three, fourth-down plays into first downs including a fake punt.
The Indians took the lead with 23 seconds left in the first half taking the ball 42 yards in eight plays ending with a two-yard run by quarterback Mason Long. A key play was the sixth play of the drive when they were facing a fourth and one from the 7-yard line. Jai Brown took the ball to the 5-yard line giving the Indians a first down.
Brown had 32 carries for Stephens County for 210 yards and had two receptions for 24 yards scoring twice.
Without Anthony Henderson and Jamal Hardge on the defense, Stephens County continued to move the ball scoring in their first two possessions making a 24-6 lead with 3:42 left in the third quarter.
Eastside showed signs of life when freshman Josh Sims caught a 34-yard pass from freshman quarterback Austin Holloway. The Eagles were able to move the ball before Sims caught five-yard touchdown pass with 1:23 left in the third period.
However, the Eagles were unable to move the ball successfully again getting only one first down in the fourth quarter off a Stephens County personal foul penalty.
Eastside finished the game with 102 rushing and 72 passing yards on offense while giving up 352 yards of offense to the Indians.
“We had four guys go down and had a freshman kicker, a freshman punter; you can only sustain so many things go wrong for you in a game and we had a bunch go down,” Hurst said. “We were playing with about 10 freshman out there.”