COVINGTON, Ga -- It didn’t take long for the Eastside Eagles to start dominating over the Henry County Warhawks as they scored in the first two minutes of Friday’s Region 4-AAAA matchup and never let up.
Eastside (6-1, 3-0) defeated Henry County (0-6, 0-2) 52-21, setting itself up for an intriguing region clash with No. 8 Woodward Academy this Friday.
“To get to where we want to go every region game counts,” said Eastside head coach Troy Hoff. “It’s always the most important one that's next.”
Junior tailback Taylor Carter caught the first touchdown of the night, as sophomore Noah Cook threw from the 10- yard line. But the Eagles were hardly done.
“(Scoring early is) kind of the focus,” Hoff said. “We hadn’t been starting pretty well out the gate. It’s like we’ve been waiting around and settling in. We just challenged them. Get out and play. Don’t wait around until the second possession. That leads to a good start.”
Carter rushed for 109 yards on 13 carries. He also had two catches for 19 yards.
Henry County helped Eastside’s cause with mistakes, including an early fumble that was recovered by the Eagles. Eastside made the most of this miscue by scoring its second touchdown of the game at the 7:15 mark in the first quarter.
The Eagles started on their own 40-yard line, and within five plays, Harper completed a pass and was tackled at the 15-yard line. However, the Eagles caught a break and were bumped up to the 8- yard line after a penalty. Tyon Davis finished with an eight yard stroll to the end zone, and Kade Mote’s extra point stretched Eastside’s lead to 14-0.
Eastside caught some bad luck on its next offensive possession when a ball carrier fumbled later in the first quarter, letting the War Hawks start 26 yards away from the end zone. Quarterback Jeremiah Walters took full advantage as he threw a scoring strike on their first play from scrimmage for a 14-7 score.
Eastside would strike back quickly, and it was Davis who got his second touchdown of the night within the first seven seconds of the second quarter. Davis carried the ball 20 yards on the first play of the quarter, putting Eastside up 21-7.
Davis, in all, had 136 yards on 10 carries to go along with his two scores.
Eastside’s Cook returned for the first time since breaking his collarbone back in the Newton game, and had good success, completing 15 of 23 passes for 141 yards, although he also threw a pair of interceptions.
Mote would add a field goal and Harper added a touchdown to make it a 31-7 advantage right before halftime.
At the start of the second half, Henry County’s Orri Roberts scored on a 26-yard touchdown. This came after the Warhawks’ Billy Jerome had a 65 yard run.
After the Eagles added yet another seven points to the score on a touchdown pass from Cook to Harper, Eastside followed up with a Carter touchdown three minutes later. This came after Carter carried the ball all the way to the 2-yard line from the 49-yard line.
Henry County had one more score in them late in the final frame, after the running clock began. Eastside tacked on two more scores in garbage time, with running back Shamar Hunter capping off the scoring with a touchdown run.
Hoff was pleased with the effort, saying it was reflective of a solid week of preparation.
“We have to keep the same focus,” said Hoff. “We had a great week of practice. It’s going to take that same great effort next week on the road at Woodward. They are the defending region champs. They’re going to be ranked. They’re a good football team. So, we have to have a great week.”
Eastside will travel to eighth-ranked Woodward Academy (6-1, 3-0) for its next region game. Henry County will host Salem (4-2, 1-1) in its next region game. Both games will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.