The Eastside Eagles football team handed the Alcovy Tigers their first loss of the season at Sharp Stadium Friday night. The Tigers fought hard on defense, but penalties got in the way, and Eastside took home the 21-9 edge.
“Defense, early on we gave up some yards, but then we bounced back and played really good football,” Eastside coach Troy Hoff said. “We put them in a bad spot with a turnover, but other than that, we were pretty solid. We have to clean some stuff up. Playing that offense is a little different than what we’ve seen. They come downhill on you, and I thought we responded well.”
The Tigers got on the board first with a 32-yard field goal by freshman Jose Ramos after the Tigers held the possession for the first eight minutes and 16 seconds of the first quarter. After the Eagles failed to score, Alcovy went into the second quarter up 3-0.
The Eagles, however, quickly responded with Taylor Carter notching a touchdown for a 6-3 lead. Eastside then scored again at the end of the quarter when Eric Stokes ran Austin Holloway’s pass 43 yards for a touchdown with 1:40 left to go in the half.
The Eagles led 12-3 midway through the third quarter when Alcovy’s Andrae Robinson scored a rushing touchdown to cut Eastside’s lead to three.
Eastside began the fourth quarter on the Eagle 26-yard line and a 15-9 lead following a Billy Love field goal. The Eagles got down to the Alcovy 29-yard line, but two personal fouls on the Tigers pushed Eastside to the 6-yard line where Anthony Brown rushed for the score to put the Eagles up 21-9, giving them room to seal the victory.
“First of all, I’ve been saying all week that Eastside is an excellent football team,” Edgar said. “You can’t make mistakes like that against good football teams and expect to win. My hats off to Troy and the Eastside staff. They’re an excellent football team. But you know what, we’re a pretty good football team, too.”
Both teams relied heavily on their run game in Friday’s matchup. Alcovy picked up 155 rushing yards off 33 carries, while Eastside racked up 234 yards off 38 carries.
Holloway threw for 51 yards and a touchdown in the first half before the Eagles brought in Brayden Harper, who threw to Brown for the winning touchdown.
“We got out of sync and got behind the chains a few times and it hurt us,” Hoff said. “If we stay on schedule and move the ball and don’t self-inflict things, then we’re going to be a lot better off.”
Edgar praised his team’s attitude on defense in Friday’s game.
“Our defense played with emotion and effort tonight,” Edgar said. “They never quit. They had some big hits out there, and I think they earned some respect tonight. This game is something that is going to help prepare us as we go forward and get into our region play. There’s a lot of fight in this team, and you’ve yet to see the end of it for sure.”
Alcovy is now 2-1 in its first season under Edgar. Despite the loss, the Tigers’ win total surpasses that of their last two seasons combined.
“I told them to keep their heads up,” Edgar said of his post-game speech to his team. “Eastside is a good football team. They’re going to make a good playoff run, and a lot of their coaches had very nice things to say about our guys and our efforts. I told them this is the hardest game we’re going to play all year until the playoffs. If we can play with that kind of poise and effort, good things are going to happen in the future. Let it hurt tonight, because we lost. But we lost a hard game, and we’re going to come back ready to work tomorrow.”
Eastside (2-0-1) will play at Loganville High School on Friday, Sept. 9, while Alcovy (2-1) will play again at home on Saturday, Sept. 10 against Henry County. Both games are at 7: 30 p.m.