COVINGTON — The Eagles’ Jomandi Smith responded well after quarterback Damario Terrell was taken away on a stretcher as Eastside defeated Madison County 31-14 on Friday at Homer Sharp Stadium.
“It was tough but our guys handled it as well as they can handle it,” Eastside head coach Rick Hurst said. “The guys were playing with a lot of emotion.”
Smith, who gained 151 yards on 18 carries and scored two touchdowns, ran hard putting his head down before getting tackled letting the defense know he was not going down easy.
“They’re really good friends. Jomandi was really emotional at the half but I told him he needed to settle down. He was running crazy and I was afraid that he would put the ball on the ground. He showed a lot of emotion and he teared up,” Hurst said. “He had the opportunity to make some plays and he did. I’m really proud of him and the whole bunch.”
The Eastside (3-2 overall, 1-1 Region 8-AAAA) defense had been suspect in their last two games but they responded holding the Red Raiders (2-3, 0-2) to 110 yards rushing and 15 passing. Forty-six of Madison County’s yards came on one play less than two minutes left in the game as Cameron Stevenson broke through the line before Jamal Hardge caught him from behind dragged him down on the 11-yard line.
“They played well,” Hurst said of his defense. “We challenged the this week and did some things. We’ve got some guys that are starting to step up and play. That’s good because we have a tough stretch coming up after this week off. We needed to play well on that side of the ball.”
Eastside started the game in control driving the ball 25 yards in three plays before Smith finished the 40-yard drive with a 15-yard run in the first quarter with 8:05 showing on the clock to make it 7-0. The Eagles went up 14-0 before Madison County scored with 6:19 left in the first half on a fumble recovery in the endzone following Terrell’s hip injury.
After ending the half with a 23-yard field goal by Jake Sheldon, the Eagles scored two touchdowns before Madison County scored with 1:40 left in the game.
The win keeps Eastside’s playoff hopes in their hands. Going 0-2 in region play would put a team in a bind with only seven region games.
It would’ve been (tough) but we’re not and they are so we don’t have to worry about it. We’re 1-1, right where we were last year. We have a big game in two weeks against a good football team,” Hurst said. “It’s going to be a monumental task but I love the way our guys played, they never quit.”
The Eagles have a bye next week before traveling to Lanier.