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Posted: October 6, 2011 5:04 p.m.

Eagles look to rebound, travel to Drew

Eastside’s epic battle with Sandy Creek Saturday will go down as one of the toughest losses in school history. That the eagles came to within a minute and a 76-yard touchdown pass away from knocking off the top team in the state – a feat not done in 34 games now, is of little consolation. Especially with work left to do.

Now that a postseason top-seed is all but gone, Eastside shifts its focus to taking care of business the rest of the way and securing a second seed and at least one home playoff game. The Eagles can start with a road win over and improved Drew team tomorrow.

Eastside can also use tomorrow’s game to tune up its offense. After being held to 168 yards, far and away their lowest offensive

If Eastside is going to win, it’ll need to establish its passing game. Cameron Boyd was held to just 65 yards passing on 15 attempts Saturday and hasn’t had a big game since Locust Grove. But Eastside’s passing game doesn’t fall entirely on his shoulders. The offensive line will be looking for a bounce back game as well in both the passing and running game.

Chavis Griggs has been the workhorse the past few weeks thanks to a host of injuries. Griggs will get some help this week as Jamondi Smith makes his return after injuring his ankle against Jackson three weeks ago. In fact, the Eagles are slowly getting healthy. Quan Moton and Dante Blackmon are back to full strength at wide receiver and Eastside’s offense will be close to full strength.

The Eagles’ defense will see a team which tends to pass and run equally. That should play into its hands especially when Drew drops back to pass. Sheldon Rankins has reemerged as the defensive leader and along with running mate Shaquille Huff, is playing at an elite level right now. Antonius Sims is quickly becoming a solid defender opposite Rankins and the Eagles’ defense is clearly as strong as it gets in Class AAA.

It’s easy to fear a hangover from Saturday’s gut-wrenching loss but after a crisp week of practice, it appears as though the Eagles are ready to move on. Head coach Rick Hurst said his team knows what’s at stake. Eastside can win the rest of its games and lock up that second seed. Tonight’s game should serve as the beginning of that quest.

The game will be at Southern Crescent Stadium, on Drew’s campus. Game time is 7:30.

output this year, the Eagles can use a well-rounded effort from both the passing and running games. Of course, Eastside didn’t fare too well against the Titans a year ago, coming off a loss to Sandy Creek no less. In fact, Drew’s 14-0 win was its first in school history. That will add even more incentive if the Eagles aren’t already motivated enough.

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