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Posted: September 11, 2012 9:00 p.m.

Fazio: Eastside headed to the playoffs?

What a football weekend!

The weather finally started to turn cooler, the humidity went back to Florida where it belongs, the Falcons picked up a big win, Georgia showed off the SEC's might and Eastside had the best game of area high school team's so far this season.

Sure, it's been just two games, but those two games have told us a lot about the Eagles, now ranked No. 10 in Class AAA according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

First, they are resilient, scoring 20 straight, including 14 in the fourth quarter to beat Jackson 23-14.

Second, their defense can make adjustments, stop teams and force turnovers when needed.

And third, they're the best of the three-area teams.

We'll find out officially when the Eagles and Alcovy Tigers square off at Sharp Stadium. But up to this point, it looks like the leader of the pack is Eastside.

Not only is Eastside the only unbeaten local team, but they have also showed improvement in the first two games, which is the most crucial time in a season to do so.

Eastside's offense showed the ability to shake off such things as nine-straight incomplete passes, as quarterback Damario Terrell threw two straight touchdown passes, including a go-ahead 36-yard score to Chase Chancey.

The Eagles still had some penalty issues, but showed their special teams could put up big plays when it needs too. The return teams were solid in Friday's win over Jackson, and kicker Colton Smith proved he can kick a long ways, making a 45-yard field goal.

Not only has their recent wins showed us the Eagles will have a solid 2012 season, but also their past.

The last time Eastside started the season 2-0, they went on to win the next three games as well, and go on to have one of its best seasons. The 2008 Eagles beat Harris County, Alcovy, Newton, Elbert County and Stephens County in their first five games, before going on to finish 11-2 and reach the third round of the Class AAA playoffs.

Eastside came up short, but it was beaten by undefeated, and eventual state champions, Cairo 23-6 in the 2008 state playoffs.

If the past shows Alcovy could be headed down a good path, and the present shows they can win, the future also shows that good things could be coming Eastside's way in 2012.

A look at the Eagles' next five games shows things may be lining up nicely.

Eastside's next five opponents are a combined 1-9 in their first two games, with only Chestatee, the Eagles first Region 8-AAAA opponent having won a game, beating West Hall 42-21 on Friday.

Alcovy has lost both its games, along with Madison County, Lumpkin and Walnut Grove.

Those games all come up before the Eagles biggest test of the season at Stephens, ranked No. 5 according to the Associated Press, on Nov. 2.

By then, that matchup could be for the Region 8-AAAA title or be a playoff tune-up for the Eagles.

Either way, if Eastside continues to improve, the 2012 football season could be extended in Newton County as Eastside looks poised to bring playoff football back to Sharp Stadium.

 

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