Coming off their first loss of the season last week against Alcovy, the Eastside Eagles have more than revenge on their minds tonight against Chestatee.
The Eagles want redemption.
Eastside scored just 10 points against the Tigers after averaging 41.5 points a game over their first two contests, as Alcovy turned the Eagles' potent offense into a mirage.
"Friday night was tough, and our kids were disappointed," East coach Rick Hurst said. "When we came back in and watched the film, we really felt like we should have won that ball game. We had mistakes that hurt us. We felt like if we could have cut down on the mistakes, we would have had a better shot of winning that game.
"The kids had a great few days of practice," he said, "They understand what they need to do. These games coming up are the ones that matter."
The game against the War Eagles is the first region contest for Eastside. Chestatee defeated the Eagles 57-56 in triple overtime a year ago in a game that ultimately decided the region championship.
"This game could determine the region champion, like it did last year," Hurst said. "We lost to Chestatee by one point in overtime last year and if we had won the game, we would have been region champions. That has been ingrained into our players’ heads since last year. We have to win as many region games as possible, especially the first one, because then everyone else is chasing you. You don't want to be the chaser."
Hurst said that against Chestatee, which enters the contest with a 1-1 overall record, the Eagles have to limit their mistakes on offense and handle the ball with care.
"We've been our own worst enemy offensively," he said. "We've played well at times in all three games; we've just made too many mistakes. We can put a lot more points on the board if we take care of the ball.”
The Eagles will take on a Chestatee program that runs its own variation of the triple-option offense, a scheme that demands patience, perfect timing and accountability from opposing defenses.
"Defensively, it comes down to how we tackle,” he said. “We have to make sure that we are aligned properly. We were probably misaligned 75 percent of the game (against Alcovy) and that hurt us. Against a team that's a downhill team like Chestatee, you have to be aligned properly against all of their sets and formations."
In the War Eagles' 15-14 victory over West Hall on Sept. 6, running back Zac Chesire ran for a game-high 100 yards and two scores on the ground.
Chestatee's physical offense is a factor that the Eagles have focused on this week.
"We have to be the one that delivers the first blow," Hurst said. "They are three yards and a cloud of dust and they are going to be physical and methodical. They like to use the entire clock and it limits our possessions. We have to make sure that we can get a couple of stops because it's a tough offense to defend. If we do all of those things, we have a good chance of winning."
With a regional title possibly on the line, Hurst knows the Eagles will take Chestatee's best shot.
"This is a very important game for us," Hurst said. "I don't expect anything less than their best."
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. at Sharp Stadium.