The Eastside Eagles soared to their second win Friday night on the road, outscoring Jackson 49-28 in non-region action.
The Eagles (2-0) scored 28 points in the fourth quarter after being down 21-7 in the first half, showing the same toughness on the road that allowed them to down rival Newton a week ago.
Eastside scored just once in the first half, but Eastside coach Rick Hurst said his players responded when they needed to.
"It was a tale of two halves," Hurst said. "We were down by two scores at the half and we were not playing well at all. It looked like a team that wasn't prepared and hadn't been coached. It was disappointing."
The Eagles and Red Devils finished the first quarter tied at 7-7, but 14 points from Jackson in the second quarter, including an interception returned for a touchdown, had the Eagles down 21-7 at the break.
"I felt like the game was going to go this way heading into the week," Hurst said. "After a big win like we had, you can suffer a letdown the week after, whether it’s at the NFL, college or high school level, it happens. We weren't focused and it showed."
Hurst and the Eagles regained their focus in the second half, outscoring the Red Devils 14-0 in the third quarter.
"We went inside at halftime, and the coaching staff could have hollered and screamed, but instead we challenged them," Hurst said. "We challenged their guts. We told them that if they continued to play the way they were playing they would end up getting beat 50-7. That's fine; we can learn from that and
move on or they could fix it.
"Our seniors stood up and said a few words and it obviously worked," he said. "They fixed it."
The Eagles went on to score 42 second-half points, including four touchdowns in the final 12 minutes of action.
Eastside limited the Red Devils to just one score in the second half.
"We just had a great performance in the second half," Hurst said. "Our running backs wore them out. They were exhausted. We dominated from the time we got the ball in the second half."
The win moves the Eagles to 2-0 on the season with a chance to clinch the county title this week against Alcovy.
The Tigers topped the Eagles 24-10 last season.
"The county championship is on the line," Hurst said. "That should be all of the motivation our team needs. Alcovy beat us last season and we have some retribution in mind. We just have to do everything we can to physically match up with them."
In the Covington News' Sunday print edition, Jackson High School was mistakenly described as Jackson County High School. The News regrets the error.