The Eastside High School football team is 1-0 overall and in Region 4-AAAA after taking on Luella High School Friday night. The Eagles shut out the competition for a 23-0 win on the road.
Due to lightning delays and bad weather conditions, the game did not kick off until 10 p.m., but for Eastside, it was worth the wait. The Eagles got on the scoreboard early, as senior running back Anthony Brown scored a touchdown on the opening drive with 10:53 left in the first quarter to go up 6-0 after missing the extra point.
“Our kids came out and player really hard,” said Troy Hoff, who began his second season as head coach Friday night. “They competed on the field well, with a high level of energy and effort. They did a good job of staying focused, staying ready and coming out and starting fast and getting after it from the beginning.”
Eastside scored again at the start of the second quarter when senior quarterback Austin Holloway sent sophomore Taylor Carter to the end zone, giving the Eagles a 13-0 lead with 11:62 left in the quarter. Holloway then sent a 30-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Nick Gaither to push the lead to 20-0.
The Eagles headed into halftime with a 23-0 lead following a Billy Love field goal. Despite not scoring again, Eastside held on for the remainder of the game due to a strong defensive performance throughout and kept the Lions scoreless.
“Our defense was fantastic,” Hoff said. “Any time you can shut an opponent out, you’ve executed the plan and done a really good job. For our defensive staff and our defensive players, definitely game ball to them for sure. We put them in some tough situations with a few turnovers and got backed up once, but they kept them out of the end zone.”
According to Hoff, the Eagles still have more room to grow as the season progress, especially on the offensive end.
“I think we just need to work on overall execution in all areas of the game,” Hoff said. “You’ll see a lot of growth hopefully as we progress through the season. As coaches, we’re always looking at every single area. We’ve got to get more consistent play from the offensive line and eliminate some mistakes on offense and take care of the ball better. Those are definitely areas we need to improve.”
The Eagles will return home Aug. 26 to face their hometown rivals the Newton Rams at Homer Sharp Stadium at 7:30 p.m.