Matching field goals were the only two scores posted at Eastside Field on Wednesday, Aug. 21, but that was enough to get Eastside and Heritage coaches, players and fans excited about the upcoming football season in the programs’ first live practices of the year.
The Eagles and the Patriots finished a first half tied 3-3 in the two team’s only scrimmage of the preseason, pitting the two schools varsity programs against one another in 24 minutes of action.
After a first half of even play, the teams then traded a single overtime situation before allowing the junior varsity programs to take the field.
Despite struggles of both programs on the offensive side of the ball, Heritage head coach Mike Parris said he was pleased with the way his program performed in its first live-action scrimmage.
“I’m proud of the way they came out,” Parris said. “We needed to come out and play somebody else. Offensively, we need to finish drives. Defensively, we executed well. They should be ahead of the offense at this time of the season. We believe in our guys and we’re going to make some plays. We believe in them.”
Eastside head coach Rick Hurst said, “I was pleased with some things, but we have a long way to go,” Hurst said. “I was pleased with our effort and I thought the defense bowed its back at times and refused to let them in. They played hard.
“Offensively, we didn’t do very well, but we have to make sure that we’re throwing to our reads and that we’re doing a better job up front with our zone scheme,” he said. “We didn’t do a very good job with that tonight and we have to do a little better.”
After the two teams traded turnovers on downs during their first possessions, the Eagles struck first, scoring on their second drive for the game’s first score.
Eastside quarterback Demario Terrell connected with running back Tanell Boley for a 39 yard screen pass to put the Eagles in Patriot territory, positioning the Eagles inside Heritages’ 20-yardline with a chance to score. Eastside’s offense sputtered in the red zone, but a 32-yard field goal attempt from the Eagles Jake Shelton broke the deadlocked contest after sailing perfectly through the uprights.
Heritage answered the Eagles score on its very next drive, moving the ball 74 yards to the inside of the Eagles 10-yardline. Heritage quarterback Ryan Sutton hit tight end Eric McIver with a 24-yard pass before C.J Stone added a 15 yard run to get the Patriots to the Eagles’ 41-yardline. Sutton again connected with one of his receivers for a 30-yard gain, hitting wideout Kenny Weaver down the sideline for the big gain.
The Patriots’ Austin Kulp knotted the contest at 3-3 with a 23-yard field goal to close Heritage’s only scoring drive with just over 11 minutes left in the first half.
Terrell finished the contest 5-for-13 for 58 yard with one interception, while Sutton posted a 3-for-8 line for 67 yards. Stone finished the contest with 42 yard rushing, while McIver reeled in two catches for 37 yards.
Both teams closed varsity action in the opening scrimmage with a situation overtime period. Eastside posted a field goal in the practice overtime period, while Heritage scored a touchdown in its set.
The scrimmage concluded with a half of junior varsity action.
The Patriots will open the season on Aug. 30 against Northgate, while the Eagles will take on county rival Newton at Sharp Stadium at 7:30 p.m.