FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — For the 10th straight season, the Eastside Eagles began region play 1-0. It took two overtime periods to accomplish this Friday night, but the Eagles downed the Flowery Branch Falcons 39-32.
After Anquez Cobb scored on Eastside’s second overtime possession to put the Eagles up seven, their defense stepped up.
On the first play of Flowery Branch’s ensuing drive, the Falcons threw the ball into the end zone. Instead of landing in a Falcons’ player’s hands, it was Marion Eubanks who tracked it down, got his feet inbounds and sealed the win for Eastside.
Most of the Eagles’ sideline rushed the field in celebration of their Region 8-AAAAA opening triumph.
The Falcons put together a 16-point comeback to force overtime in the first place.
Trailing 29-13, Flowery Branch scored back-to-back touchdowns with each score coupled with a successful two-point conversion.
In the first overtime period, each team traded field goals to bring about the second overtime.
It seemed like the Eagles would run away early, though, thanks to its rushing attack.
Jayden Barr found paydirt three times with all of them coming before halftime. His 32-yard score put the Eagles ahead 7-0 less than two minutes into the action. In the closing seconds of the first quarter, the junior running back added to his total with a two-yard touchdown, which increased Eastside’s advantage 20-0 after a missed extra point attempt.
Though he did not have as many touchdowns as Barr, Cobb’s overtime score put the exclamation point on the running game’s performance.
Cobb spent most of his carries knocking off Falcons’ defenders to get extra yardage after-contact.
Barr and Cobb had the ball in their hands often, but quarterback Payton Shaw did the most with his few drop backs.
On the second Eagles’ possession, Shaw’s first pass of the game resulted in points.
Eubanks beat his man down the middle before leaping in the air to hurl in the touchdown pass.
Eubanks did not want to stop there.
On Eastside’s final drive of the first half, Shaw found Eubanks again on a leaping grab to put the Eagles on the goal line. The pass set up Barr’s third touchdown of the game.
Barr’s third score made it a 26-7 game going into halftime. Johnathan Gomez’s early third quarter, 26-yard field goal gave Eastside a 29-7 lead.
Conversely, all of the Falcons’ points came through the air.
Flowery Branch quarterback Josh Oliver connected with Jeremiah Wars twice for a pair of touchdowns. Then, it turned to its bag of tricks in the fourth.
Oliver went to his receiver in the flat who found an open man downfield for the long touchdown. The score made it a 29-21 game with eight minutes left.
After stopping the Eagles on their next drive, the Falcons put together a long drive to tie the game.
Oliver found his wideout in the corner of the end zone on the touchdown and the two-point conversion to tie the game.
From start to finish, the run game was all the Eagles needed on offense.
Barr finished with 119 yards along with Cobb’s 126 yards.
Eastside improves to 3-2 overall with Friday’s win and 1-0 in Region 8-AAAAA. The Eagles continue their region schedule with a home game against Loganville on Friday, Sept. 29.