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Eastside football clicking on all cylinders
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Confidence is running sky high during Eastside High's grueling football summer workouts with the coaches and players.

The Eagles have one thing on their minds and that's going to the Class AAA - not Class AAAA - playoffs in 2008.

"We've got the talent," said Eastside coach Rick Hurst. "All we have to do is stay committed and perform when we hit the field."

While the confidence is overwhelming, Hurst makes it perfectly clear that his squad must remain focused. As one watches them go through their rigorous conditioning, one can easily see that the coaching staff is on the same page.

In fact, the players and coaches are dedicated to Hurst's system, working together to perfect what is already laid out for them to accomplish.

"We work very hard to try and be the best we can be," said senior middle linebacker Hunter Parker.

Besides Parker, Hurst has a lot of confidence in his offense with senior Broderick Alexander and junior Tony Atwater running the ball behind fellow seniors Jarrod White and James Johnson.

Across the offensive line, the Eagles average 220 pounds with good speed and quickness which will fill the gaps and give their quarterback ample protection.

Senior quarterback Justin Wray and senior wide receiver Anderico Bailey could very well be the most feared offensive tandem in the state, with Antarius Terrell on the field to relieve some of the pressure placed on Bailey.

Yet with all the offensive weapons at the skill positions, Hurst realizes he has some holes to fill on his offensive line; however, he is confident that Lane Dobbs, Micah East and center Dalton Temple will step in and supply him with what he needs.

The defense is solidly anchored with 6-foot-3, 225-pound Karl Williams at one defensive end position and 6-2, 220 Jecorey Maddox holding down the other side.

In addition, Wray, Terrell and Bailey will also play on the defensive side of the ball.

"We have a good chance at the playoffs this year," Wray said.

The special teams unit is also solid with kicking specialist Yanrick Tinker returning.

Overall, the Eagles will field at least six Division I prospects when the season opens. Though Hurst feels the pressure of having the talent he has been blessed with, it's one of the reasons why their motto is "No Excuses."

For reassurance, the Eagles wear it on the back of their shirts in big bold letters.

Intangibles like cohesiveness are evident, as each player genuinely cares about the other. They are encouraging; each player wants to see his teammate succeed, defining what every team should aspire to be.

"All the proponents are in place," Hurst said. "We just need to bring everything together. If we do that we'll be alright."

Even the freshman class is stepping up. They are big, but lack speed; however, constant training along with time and experience will conquer that.

"Give them until they become seniors," Hurst said. "If they stick together they will be a force."

For now, Eastside's future shines as bright as a 1,000-watt light bulb.