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Posted: October 9, 2011 12:55 a.m.

Eagles fall to Drew 28-21 for second region loss

Eastside dropped its second straight region game Saturday, putting its chance of earning the second-seed and a home playoff game in peril. Based on the way the Eagles played in their 28-21 loss to Drew, just earning a playoff berth may prove to be an accomplishment.

Eastside gave up big plays in the running and passing game and the offense missed an opportunity to score before the half with a first-and-goal inside the Drew 1-yard line. The Titans also turned a Cameron Boyd interception into a touchdown for the second straight year.

Much like the scenario last year, the Eagles ran into a hungry Drew team a week after losing to Sandy Creek. It was then when Boyd made his first start for starter Califf Carnes who was injured the week before. While Boyd was thrown into the fire so-to-speak then, the same couldn’t be said for Saturday’s game.

The offense continued to struggle after being held to a season-low output last week. Unlike in games past though, the defense wasn’t able to pick them up, especially down the stretch.

Boyd and company were unable to move the ball in the second half, forcing the defense to play extended minutes for a second straight week. It showed. The defense wasvisibly gassed in the third and fourth quarters and was unable to preserve a 21-18 lead.

The Eagles withstood an early 52-yard touchdown run to take a 7-6 lead on Jomandi Smith’s 8-yard run in the closing seconds of the first quarter. Smith’s return provided a spark and gave Chavis Griggs some much-needed help in the backfield. His touchdown capped a 70-yard drive and the Eagles looked like they would settle in.

Two possessions later, after Sheldon Rankins recovered a fumble near midfield, Boyd was picked off on a screen pass and Drew took it the other way for a touchdown to go up 12-7.

The Titans struck again for a big play, this time on a 53-yard pass for a score to take an 18-7 lead with 4:24 left in the half.

The Eagles responded quickly, going 54 yards in just six plays to make it an 18-13 game. Boyd hit Dante Blackmon over the middle for a 43-yard gain and Griggs took it in from six yards out on a tough run up the middle. Griggs was wrapped up at the 4-yard line but kept his legs moving and drove the Titan defender into the end zone.

Eastside missed the extra point after a pair of penalties saw the Eagles go from attempting the point after to going for the two-point conversion. After running each unit on and off the field once, kicker Colton Smith missed the PAT. It would be a sign of things to come.

The Eagles forced their second turnover when Blackmon picked off a pass at the Titans’ 24-yard line inside of two minutes to play. Smith burst up the gut for 13 yards to move the ball to the 12 and Griggs followed with a 9-yard run down to the goal line. With time running out, the Eagles took two cracks at the end zone but were unable to break the goal line. Boyd was sacked on third down with 11 seconds to go in the half and the Eagles, out of timeouts, were unable to attempt a short field goal before time expired.

Eastside shook off the disappointing end of the first half doing what it does best — making plays on defense. After each team traded three-and-out possessions, Rankins came away with his second interception on a batted ball in as many weeks to give the Eagles a first-and-goal at the six. Smith scored his second touchdown of the game on a 4-yard run and Griggs punched in the two-point conversion to give the Eagles a 21-18 lead with 6:39 to play in the third.

The Titans kept attacking and responded with a 93-yard scoring drive on their next possession. They ripped off a 40-yard pass play and a 30-yard run on back-to-back plays to start the drive and took just one minute to score.

Eastside didn’t pick up a first down the rest of the night. Without any field position, the defense had its back at the end zone the entire fourth quarter. The Eagles survived a missed field goal but Drew tacked on a 28-yarder with 2:27 to increase its lead to seven.

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