The Eastside Eagles earned their first region win of the season and their third win overall, Friday night at Sharp Stadium, defeating Madison County 31-14.
Both teams were winless in the region going into the game, but Eastside looked like the hungrier squad, dominating the Red Raiders in all facets of the game.
Eastside came out strong, scoring on their first drive of the contest.
After a bad punt by Madison (2-3, 0-2), Eastside (3-2, 1-1) took advantage of the short field.
Eastside running back Carlos Higgins started off the drive with a 12-yard run and Jomandi Smith finished off the drive with a 15-yard touchdown on the ground, giving the Eagles an early 7-0 advantage.
Eastside got great field position again after a 38-yard punt return by Austin Holloway at the end of the first quarter, setting the Eagles up for another scoring drive.
On the first play of the second quarter, Eastside quarterback Demario Terrell connected with Anthony Henderson for a 20-yard touchdown, but Terrell’s night ended with a painful twist, as the senior suffered an injury that caused him to be carried off the field.
“That was a big blow,” Eastside coach Rick Hurst said. “It was a big blow to our team, our staff and everybody. It’s just tough.”
Holloway replaced Terrell at quarterback, but his first play didn’t go as planned, as the freshman fumbled near his own goalline, allowing Madison’s Dustin Howard to recover the loose ball for a score, cutting Eastside’s lead to 14-7.
Despite his early struggles, Holloway did settle in, leading Eastside to a 23-yard field goal to finish off the first half’s scoring.
In the second half, Eastside continued to take advantage of the Red Raiders’ punting game, capitalizing once again on a short field. Jomandi Smith capped off the another Eastside scoring drive with a 13-yard touchdown run.
Eastside receiver Jamal Hardge also got in on the scoring act, catching a 6-yard pass for a touchdown to finish off the game. Madison added a touchdown in the waning seconds of the contest for the 31-14 final.
“We came out tonight and played well,” Hurst said. “We still have a lot to work on."
Eastside returns to action on Oct. 11 after a bye week against Lanier.