COVINGTON, Ga. — The Eastside Eagles dominated the Salem Seminoles in every facet of the game last week in their 45-6 high school football victory in a much-needed rebound game, but the play of one breakout receiver gave the team a huge boost.
Senior wide receiver Giovanni Macek stepped up in a huge way and seemed to forge more of a bond with quarterback Noah Cook, who went 13-of-22 with 312 yards passing and three touchdowns.
While this was an outstanding performance for Cook, the play of Macek gave a massive boost for the senior quarterback. Macek finished his night with just four catches but had an amazing 145 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
Macek also had two pass deflections on defense for the Eagles, but it was his outstanding offensive production that put him over the top as the Chick-fil-A Covington player of the week.
Macek's outstanding number of receiving yards on just four catches means that each of his catches led to an average of 36.25 yards per catch. The ability to get huge chunks of yardage through the air has been missing from the Eagles offense this season, so Macek's emergence has to be a pleasant surprise.
The Eagles started the season with only a few sure-handed pass catchers that Cook had to rely on, but the need for more was apparent for the coaching staff. That need grew even more in importance when the loss of senior star tight end Colby Shivers occurred in week two against county rivals the Newton Rams.
With Shivers out, senior Jeff Haynes would become Cook's top target, but two games later, Haynes would sustain an ankle injury on the second offensive play of the Eagles game against the Luella Lions.
In the bye week before the Eagles match against the Lions, head coach Troy Hoff made it known that trying to find receivers that Cook could trust to make catches and plays in the passing game.
One of the first names that came out of Hoff's mouth was Macek's. This performance has to be more than pleasing for the Eagles head coach as the talented senior receiver is really beginning to start making the plays that he knew he was capable of producing.
"Gio Macek has stepped up and had a really big game for us at receiver and caught some critical balls at some critical times," said Hoff after the Eagles win over the Lions. "He's (Noah Cook) developing some trust and a working relationship with how those guys run routes and where the ball needs to be for those guys."
After talking with Hoff, it seems that as Cook gains more experience with Macek and some of the other receivers, this offense will start to thrive even more than it already has.
Macek should be an integral piece in the production and success of not only the Eagles’ passing game but the offense as a whole. He knows that he still has some areas of his game that he must improve upon if he hopes to be an effective piece for his team.
"For me, a big thing that many of the coaches, coach Cawthon, coach Iverson, and coach Hoff have been talking to me about is blocking," said Macek. "I can make plays for four catches, 145 yards, two touchdowns, but I'm more proud of having better blocking in that game so that I can make more plays, and it's not just me scoring."
Macek will look to build on the relationship that he has with Cook and expand on their production in the Eagles' next match, which will come on the road against the Druid Hills Red Devils on Friday, Oct. 25.