COVINGTON - The Eastside Eagles gathered at Homer Sharp field Friday night for the schools 10th annual homecoming game.
With the rain steadily coming down and the homecoming court huddled under the canopy, the Eagles (6-1, 3-1 Region 8-AAA) took the field in what would turn out to be a statement game.
Running the ball with ease, the Eagles mounted more than 400 total yards of offense as they rolled the Jackson County Panthers 50-0.
"They were dedicated to playing for homecoming tonight," Eastside coach Rick Hurst said. "We wanted to play with a purpose and with emotion and I think we accomplished it."
On the opening drive of the game the Eagles started on their own 35-yard line and went on a six-play, 65 yard scoring drive. Git Aiken scampered for 44 of his 83 yards and scored the first of his three touchdowns to give the Eagles a quick 7-0 lead.
After forcing a quick three-and-out, the Eagles received an early Christmas gift as the Panthers long snapper snapped the ball over the punter’s head into the end zone for an Eastside safety.
Receiving a short punt at the 48-yard line, the Eagles called Aiken’s number again as he ran for chewed up 34 more yards on his way to his second touchdown of the night.
Up 16-0, the Eagles defense, which would be over shadowed by the offensive display, forced the Panthers to cough up the ball. Karl Williams fell on the loose ball to give Eastside possession at the 45-yard line.Looking to pounce on the Panthers while they were down, Hurst called a play action pass. Quarterback Justin Wray executed the play to perfection as he hit Antarius Terrell for a 55-yard touchdown to extend Eastside’s first quarter lead.
Forcing the Panthers to punt for the second time, the Eagles brought the house and Aiken broke the line and blocked the punt and returned the loose ball for his third touchdown of the night.
"He is a gamer," Hurst said about Aiken. "We know he is a real threat on offense, but he is proving to be a great defensive player. He has a real sense for finding the ball."
"My offensive line did it for me," Aiken said. "We practiced and trained hard this week, and tonight we were able to put it together. They allowed me to do my thing."
With 12 minutes left in the second quarter and up 43-0, the Eagles decided to put the nail in the coffin early.
Still playing highly aggressive on both sides of the ball, the Eagles defense came up with their first of two interceptions.
Not wanting to waste any time, the offense got right to work as Broderick Alexander carried it 26 yards to the 10-yard line. Tony Atwater finished it off with a 10-yard touchdown run that put the Eagles up 50-0 before halftime.
As the second half got underway, Hurst got his young players experience as all the starters sat for the remainder of the game.
Taking advantage of the playing time they received, Victor Smith and Justin Bates rushed for a combined 50 yards in their first varsity opportunity.
Also seizing the moment was Nykee Booker, came up with a big interception that put an end to Jackson County’s only real drive.
Unable to add to the first half massacre, the Eagles second string got valuable experience while holding the Panthers offense to a minimum.
Eastside held Jackson County to just two first downs for the game.