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Posted: November 7, 2013 9:00 p.m.

Eagles confident against Purple Hurricanes

Anthony Banks/

The Eastside Eagles still have a chance to make the playoffs with a road win against Monroe Area Friday night and a Stephens County loss.

The Eastside Eagles had a chance to cement a playoff berth last week against the Stephens County Indians.

This week, the Eagles will need a complete team performance on the road and a little help from the Lumpkin County Indians to clinch a spot in postseason play.

The Eagles travel to Monroe tonight to take on the Monroe Area Hurricanes after falling last week 30-14 to Stephens County.

While the home loss to Stephens County still stings, coach Rick Hurst said his team responded well to the setback.

"It was tough," Hurst said. "It was tough on our kids and tough on our staff. We start working in January, and when you work that long and have this kind of result — it’s tough when we know that we aren’t playing with everything we have.

"I asked the coaches to go back and look at film from the game and make sure that every kid was playing hard," he said. "They were. They were playing hard. We just didn’t execute when we needed to and it came back and got us. Those are things we’ve battled all year. Despite that, their attitude was great and they’ve practiced well."

The Purple Hurricanes enter tonight's contest with a perfect 9-0 overall record and a 6-0 mark in region play.

The Eagles were in a similar situation last season, hosting undefeated Monroe Area at home in the final game of the regular season. Eastside surprised the Purple Hurricanes, defeating Monroe Area 35-0 for the visitor's lone regular season loss of the year.

Eastside is 5-2 all-time against Monroe Area and has not lost to the Purple Hurricanes in its last four contests, dating back to 1999.

"Last year was a crazy game," Hurst said. "Looking at it on paper, no one gave us a chance last year. No one is going to give us a chance this year, but we've shown that it can be done. No one is going to believe that we have a chance to win except us.

"No one is invincible in this game," he said. "We're going to go out there and line up with them, go toe to toe and try to punch them in the mouth and see how they respond."

Hurst said the Eagles will have to focus on Monroe Area's team speed to be successful tonight.

"Their offense is electric, but very simple," Hurst said. "They're not doing something elaborate; they just have a lot of speed. Against everyone else in our region, they have more speed.

"Do they have more speed than us? Yes, in certain spots they do. But, I think we're probably the closest one to them in terms of speed and athleticism. I think that's what helped us last year. We were able to match up with them and show them some things that they hadn't seen all year and give them some problems.

"They have a good front four and they do a lot of man-to-man coverage," Hurst said. "They are solid, but the man coverage can be susceptible to a lot of routes. They do a good job, but we have to pass protect well and try to make big plays. Hopefully, that will give us an opportunity to stay with them."

With a win over the Purple Hurricanes, the Eagles would finish the season with a winning record for the second year in a row.

"We can finish the year with a winning record," he said. "There's a big difference between 6-4 and 5-5. We just have to go out there and take care of us."

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