Big plays doomed Eastside again. For the second straight week, the Eagles gave up a long rushing touchdown in the first quarter, quarterback Cameron Boyd had an interception returned for a touchdown and the Eagles lost an important region game, this time falling to Stockbridge 21-3.
"We’ve got some guys who can’t get over a game that happened two weeks ago and if they’re going to live off that, we’re going to be in trouble the rest of the year," Eastside coach Rick Hurst said. "It’s not all of them. It’s a few who are just not playing the way they are capable of playing and that’s disappointing."
Curtis Lindsay scored a 59-yard touchdown on the second play of the game and rushed for 126 yards. Trenton Earl’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Boris Burton in the third quarter gave the Tigers a 14-3 lead. Stockbridge put the game away early in the fourth when Corey Hall picked off Boyd’s pass at the 14-yard line and took it 86 yards the other way to make it 21-3.
Colton Smith’s 33-yard field goal with 11:04 in the second quarter was Eastside’s lone scoring play. The Eagles were shutout of the end zone for the second time this season. They’ve scored one or fewer touchdowns in four of eight games, losing three of those.
The loss seriously dampens Eastside’s playoff chances. The Eagles all but lost a chance at earning the No. 2 seed with their loss last week. Now, the Eagles must win the remainder of their games just to get in.
Before anyone could settle in, Stockbridge landed a big blow when Lindsay took the second snap of the game 60 yards to the end zone to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
Eastside had no response on its first driving, going three-and-out but the defense gave the Eagles a spark when Sheldon Rankins ripped the ball out of Lindsay’s hands then fell on the loose ball for a Stockbridge turnover.
Boyd hooked up with Dante Blackmon for a 44-yard pass to set up Smith’s field goal and cut the Tigers’ lead to 7-3.
The Eagles were bitten by a turnover of their own on their next possession while driving when Chavis Griggs coughed up the ball at the Stockbridge 28-yard line.
Eastside missed another opportunity to score before the half after sure-handed Matt Hitchcock dropped a fourth down pass that would have given the Eagles a fresh set of downs at the Tigers’ 32-yard line.
The Eagles struggled with field position in the second half. After consecutive three-and-out possessions to open the third quarter, Stockbridge added to its lead when Earl found Burton over the middle on a slant and Burton took it in to the end zone untouched.
Looking to rally, Eastside went on a 14-play drive to work the ball deep into Stockbridge territory. Boyd converted tow fourth downs on passes to Blackmon but missed the Eagles’ best receiver on the third fourth down attempt. Boyd underthrew a wide-open Blackmon twice on potential touchdown passes. Blackmon nearly used his blazing speed to catch the first one but was unable to after a diving attempt. The second one proved costly when Hall stepped up for the pick and took it the other way for the final score.
The Eagles tried to mix up the gameplan with a lot of targets to Blackmon and the senior responded with a season-high 10 catches for 106 yards. All of his catches were in traffic and for the second straight week, Blackmon showed his toughness across the middle as he gained most of his yards after the catch.
"He’s (Blackmon) trying to will his team to wins," Hurst said. "He has a bunch of guys who right now aren’t responding to him."
After the interception, Boyd was replaced by backup Demario Terrell who ran the offense during the Eagles final two possessions. Eastside doesn’t play next week and will use the bye week to prepare for Eagles Landing on senior night.
"I told the team we’re going to keep working ," Hurst said. "We’re going to do the things we do and we’re going to evaluate film and look at the guys who are playing hard and doing it our way and we’re going to go with those guys."