Coming off its 30-point victory over Alcovy, Eastside is set to play at Madison County, a team that’s 2-0 with a strong balanced attack on offense.
“They’re just balanced,” Rick Hurst, Eagles’ head coach, said. “That’s the one thing that stands out in my mind. You’ve got a 51/49, I think, is our breakdown on ‘em. That’s a good balance. When you can do that it makes it tough on a defense.”
“They’ve done a good job mixing it up. They’re about 50/50 percent run/pass so it’s gonna be a challenge for us,” Hurst said. “We’ve gotta make sure that we’re reading our keys. When we get there we gotta be violent with our tackles, we gotta wrap up. That’s the biggest thing, it hurt us last week we missed quite a few tackles, just cause we didn’t finish. We gotta do a better job of that tomorrow night.”
The Red Raiders are coming off a game that saw them overcome a 21-7 halftime deficit, to come back and win 27-21 off a fumble returned for a touchdown with less than two minutes left to play.
Friday night’s contest will be a battle of the running games. The Red Raiders’ junior running back Ethan South ran the ball 16 times for 80 yards and two touchdowns in the last contest. Running backs Ethan Stokes and Andrew Henderson are going to cause problems for the Red Raiders. On the third play of the Eastside’s game against Alcovy, Stokes broke a 65-yard touchdown run to open up the game.
Eastside is strong in the trenches on both sides of the ball, which is why they were able to run the ball so effectively and get pressure on Alcovy’s quarterback. Hurst said that putting up points is one of his keys to the game.
“If we can put some points on the board early it makes them come out of their running game and have to throw the football,” Hurst said.
Hurst added that he thinks tackling is another key. He wants his team to wrap up ball carriers, when they get the chance. Hurst also said that he believes the Eagles have an advantage in special teams, and he’s looking to exploit it in the game.
“We’ve gotta find something in the special teams game that we can have a little bit more advantage,” Hurst said. “If I look at both of us together, I think that’s where we’re a little bit better is in our special teams. We gotta make a play there tomorrow night.”
Austin Holloway, the shot-caller for the Eagles, likely won’t run the ball as much but he does have the ability to run the ball as well as pass it.
Defensively, Hurst said he needs his guys to be disciplined and read the defense.
“Our guys gotta read their keys, make sure they’re staying at home when they need to be,” Hurst said. “We feel like we’ve got some good keys on them, when they’re gonna do certain things. Our guys gotta follow through and study up on their gameplan.”