Eastside routed Newton County 32-0 before a packed house a Homer Sharp Field last night, ending a three game losing skid to its cross-town rivals.
The Rams struggled to move the ball for most of the game, and their young quarterback threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. Lousy field position didn't help either.
On the first Newton County possession, the Rams started inside their own 20 and sputtered, gaining just four yards before punting the ball away.
Eastside's Alex Smith returned the punt to the Newton County 20, but a penalty moved the ball back to the 41. Facing a fourth and four at the 35, the Eagles gambled and went for the first down.
It paid off.
Eastside signal caller Demario Terrell slipped past the Newton County line and raced 30 yards to the five. On the next play, Jamondi Smith scored. Following Colton Smith's (the final part of the Smith trio) extra point, the Eagles led 7-0.
After an exchange of punts, Newton County went on a 60-yard drive engineered by sophomore quarterback Kemani Pitman. However, the drive stalled inside the five despite a facemask penalty that gave the Rams a second chance at a score.
Late in the second quarter, Eastside's Jamal Hardge picked off a pass and broke several tackles on his way to an 82-yard touchdown.
The Eagles added insult to insult on the point after, when the holder took a quick snap and found a wide open Antonius Sims in the endzone for a two-point conversion to put the Eastside up 15-0.
Eastside added three points to its lead near the end of the half, after a 36-yard completion from Terrell to Alex Smith set up a Colton Smith field goal.
Matters just got worse for the Rams in the second half.
Pitman tried a lateral pass to Darius Dean, but the ball sailed over his head. Sims picked up the football but appeared to injure his leg in the process. As a result, his touchdown run resembled a sack race.
Poor field position continued to plague the Rams into the second half.
Attempting to move out of the shadow of their own goal posts early in the fourth quarter, Pitman lofted a pass into the left flat that was picked off by Cameron Boyd who registered another pick six. Colton Smith finished off a perfect night with his extra-point and the Eagles led 32-0.
Pitman went back to work and had the Rams moving inside Eastside territory late in the game. The Eagle defense held on to its shutout when Landon Moore picked off a pass that might have put Newton County on the board had the intended receiver come down with the ball.
The Rams won't have much time to lick their wounds after this loss, though. They have a date with perennial powerhouse Lowndes County in Valdosta next week, while Eastside will take on Jackson Sept. 7.