The Eastside Eagles won their annual homecoming contest Friday night at Sharp Stadium defeating Lumpkin County 28-12.
The win evened the Eagle’s record in region play, while dropping the Indians to 1-3 in region action.
Eastside (4-3, 2-2) didn’t look perfect, but capitalized on enough big plays to get the job done against Lumpkin County.
The Eagles battled mistakes and penalties, but came away with the 16-point victory to remain two games behind region leaders Chestatee and Monroe Area.
“The penalties got us out of any rhythm we wanted to get in,” Eastside coach Rick Hurst said. “We have got to correct that.”
Eastside came out and scored on their first possession of the game. Quarterback Austin Holloway connected with Jomandi Smith and Evan House on the drive for a total of 59 yards. Anthony Henderson had a thunderous 33-yard run on the drive, but it was Holloway finished off the scoring march with a 10-yard pass to House for a touchdown.
Lumpkin County responded with two nice drives that included quarterback Daniel McCrary having 41 yards of total offenseon the first drive, and a 43-yard run by Zach Matthews on the second drive. But, both drives ended with field goals as Eastside’s defense stood tall, keeping the Eagles’ lead intact at 7-6.
Eastside’s Jamal Hardge put an end to Lumpkin County’s momentum with an 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown after the Indian’s back-to-back scores.
Eastside added to its lead on its next possession, with Smith barreling his way into the red zone with a 33-yard run. Carlos Huggins finished off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown, extending the Eagles’ lead to 21-6.
Lumpkin County finally found the end zone for its first touchdown of the game in the middle of the third quarter. After a muffed punt by Eastside, McCrary took a quarterback keeper 30 yards down the field for a touchdown. But, Lumpkin County failed on their two-point conversion, keeping it to a two possession game in Eastside’s favor
Eastside’s defense showed their skills in the fourth quarter, as they forced Lumpkin County into four punts.
Smith provided the knockout punch with a 57-yard run down the field for a touchdown.
Eastside defense finished off the game, stopping Lumpkin County from scoring as they made it into the red zone late in the contest.
“We just got to take it a game at a time,” said Hurst. “We are right back in the thick of it.”
Eastside returns to action next Friday when they travel to Walnut Grove for a 7:30 p.m. region contest against the Warriors.