Eastside make a big stride in determining what type of a team they’re going to be after answering head coach Rick Hurst’s challenge with 42 second-half points in their 49-21 win over Jackson on Friday.
The Eagles (2-0) were trailing 14-7 when the Red Devils (0-2) intercepted a pass returning it for a touchdown to go up 21-7 as the teams headed into the locker room.
“We had three turnovers before halftime,” Hurst said. “I challenged them at halftime and told them we made more turnovers and penalties in one half then we did in the whole game last week.
“I was a little upset because those are first-game mistakes and we didn’t make them in the first game. I told them that it all went back to preparation. I didn’t think they prepared last week and I was worried about having a little bit of a let down because it (Newton) was a big game and the emotions that come with it. That happens with a young team.”
After his short talk, Hurst left the locker room letting the players decide how they were going to respond to the challenge. The answer came quickly as the Eagles scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to tie the game at 21.
If the Eagles controlled the third quarter, they owned the fourth quarter outscoring Jackson 28-7.
“We just cut down on mistakes, didn’t turn the ball over anymore and created three turnovers. We just wore them out, our tempo was awesome,” Hurst said. “We were probably getting a snap every 10 to 12 seconds.
“I think a lot of it comes down to conditioning. I told them afterwards that they don’t understand why we do what we do in the summer but now they do. They were physically worn and we were ready to go. It was a good learning experience for our guys and hopefully we’ll come out and play a whole game come Friday.”
The Eagles simplified their play calling running four different types of plays. With their fast-tempo style of play, the Eagles rushed for more than 250 yards in the second half. Even though Anthony Henderson, Jomandi Smith, Carlos Huggins and Andrew Henderson carried the ball averaged five or more yards per carry in the second half, the true hero’s of the game was the Eagles offensive line.
“Our whole offensive line in the second half dominated the game,” Hurst said. “I’m really proud of the kids for coming back and never feeling like they were out of it. I’m glad seeing them pull out a big win for us.”