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Harper, Spurgeon, Eastside defense too much for Loganville
A pair of Eastside defenders converge on a Loganville ball carrier in Friday's 21-3 Eastside win over the Red Devils. (Photo by Melinda Pease | Walton Tribune)

COVINGTON, Ga. -- The Eastside Eagles shook off a bit of a sluggish first half and then warmed up midway through the third quarter in order to defeat Loganville 21-3, Friday night in a home non-region game. 

In a game that was very much a defensive stalemate throughout, Loganville was the first team to make a serious scoring push in the game. 

After what looked like a promising drive, the Red Devils’ offense stalled out a bit, but still got on the board first with a field goal by kicker Tristan Rudisail with 6:30 left in the first quarter, making for a 3-0 score. 

But even at the end of the game, Loganville coach Mike Humphreys lamented the fact that his team couldn’t punch that drive into the end zone.

“We had that one drive where we got it in deep,” Humphreys said. “And when it didn’t get in, we had to settle for a field goal. That was a big turning point.”

After the Loganville score, Eastside got the ball back at the 20-yard line, only to be taken back to its own 16-yard line when Terrance Reid was taken down for a loss by several Loganville defenders. That play typified the way the early part of the game went for both teams. 

Loganville’s defense also missed some opportunities in the first quarter, as Eastside quarterback, Brayden Harper threw two incomplete passes that could have easily turned into interceptions for Loganville before going into the second quarter. 

Eastside actually would get a break on one near pick when Harper threw a pass that was intercepted. However, a pass interference penalty negated that call.  Three plays later, Eastside running back,powered through for an Eastside touchdown with 9:06 left in the first half. Kade Mote secured the extra point for a 7-3 score. 

Eastside coach, Troy Hoff, said he felt fortunate to see his team in the lead after the nip-and-tuck first half.

“Every play it was something (in the first half),” Hoff said. “We had a lot of miscommunication and not executing. I’m happy we cleaned up the second half. We challenged our team at the half. We said to come out and be the good football team that you are. The effort was there it just wasn’t being executed.

“We played a good second half. We came out and played physical. Defense played good football all night.”

Led by senior defensive tackle, Spurgeon Gaither, the Eagles’ defense poured it on after halftime. 

Eastside’s offense also looked crisper after halftime. 

Well into the third quarter, Harper appeared to score on a touchdown run, but it was brought back due to a holding call. That’s when freshman tailback, Quincy Cullins ripped off a 13-yarder which would eventually set him up for a one-yard touchdown to stretch Eastside’s lead to 14-3 with 3:07 left in the third quarter. 

Loganville tried to spark a comeback in the fourth quarter after Parker Blackerby received the ball, fumbled and recovered that fumble at the 13-yard line. This put the Red Devils in prime scoring position in the red zone. However, Loganville could not complete several pass attempts into the end zone for its remaining downs. 

And with 2:19 left in the game, Harper iced it when he scored from 36 yards out to provide the game’s final margin. 

Afterward, Humphreys was gracious in his team’s defeat, although he know doubt wondered what could’ve been if his bunch could’ve made good on its scoring chances. 

“We had opportunities and left points on the field,” Humphreys said. “I give credit to Eastside, they made the plays. We gave up a lot of big plays on defense, (Eastside) capitalized on that. We just have to keep working hard and get better at what we’re doing.”

Next week, Eastside (3-1) will rest with a bye week. Loganville (0-3) will take on Winder-Barrow next week at home.