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Indians knock off Eagles
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Senior night was one to forget Friday night for the Eastside varsity football team, as the Eagles’ playoff hopes were dampened in a 30-14 loss to Stephens County at Sharp Stadium.

The loss dropped the Eagles to 5-4 overall and evened their mark to 3-3 in the region, jeopardizing their potential postseason playoff positioning. The Indians improved to 3-3 in Region 8-AAAA with the win, setting up a scenario where a win next week over Lumpkin County would see the Indians take the No. 4 seed in the region.

The Indians’ win moved Stephens County to 6-2 all-time against the Eagles.

The Eagles took the first lead of the game at 6-0 on an electrifying 50-yard touchdown run by Jomandi Smith. The possession came as a result of an Indians’ fumble that was recovered by defensive tackle James Russell.

Stephens County went three-and-out on its next possession, and it looked as if the Eagles were primed to take control of the game, but the Eagles muffed a punt that gave the ball back to Stephens County.

The Indians’ offense looked to be on the verge of stalling again with a three-and-out; however, on fourth down, the Indians faked punted and ran the ball, converting the fourth down on a Desmond Wheeler run.

Stephens County was unable to score off the fake punt, but on its next possession, the Indians were in the same predicament. This time, the Indians converted the exact same play on fourth down, placing themselves inside field goal range with a 12-yard run.

The Indians ended the drive with a successful field goal attempt from kicker Jason Oliver, cutting the Eagles’ lead to 6-3 in the first quarter.

Stephens County took its first lead of the contest on its next drive, starting its scoring drive inside its own 25-yard line after a 15-yard penalty. The ground and pound game of running back Jai Brown got most of the yardage back for the Indians, as Brown carried the ball for 12 yards to keep the Indians’ offense moving.

On the following play, Brown caught a pass from quarterback Mason Long and fumbled the ball, but the ball rolled out of bounds at midfield, giving the Indians a first down. The drive ended with the Indians taking the lead on a 2-yard quarterback sneak from Long, pushing the Indians ahead 10-7 going into halftime.

Stephens County would make its lead 17-6 in the third quarter on a touchdown run by Brown.

The Eagles came out on their next possession looking to make some noise after a 22-yard run by Smith. Smith’s run was followed by a 6-yard run by Jaquan Henderson, but the Eagles could not convert another first down on the drive and ultimately punted.

On the first play of the Indian’s next possession, Brown ran the ball straight up the middle for a 34-yard touchdown to give the Indians a 24-6 lead on his second score of the game.

Despite the score, the Eagles kept fighting. Quarterback Austin Holloway put together a series of plays on the drive, including a 34-yard pass completion to Josh Sims.

Eastside ended the drive on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Holloway to Sims, and the Eagles also successfully converted a 2-point conversion, cutting the Indians’ lead to 24-14.

It looked as if the Eagles were getting back into the game after forcing the Indians into a three-and-out, but the Eagles were unable to muster any offense over their final two possessions.

Brown added a 1-yard touchdown run to seal the Eagles’ fate for the 30-14 final.

The Eagles’ defense had no answer for Brown, who rushed for 201 yards on 32 carries and tallied three rushing touchdowns for the Eagles. Brown also caught two passes for 24 yards.

The Eagles will play their final game of the regular season next week on the road against Monroe Area.

Eastside defeated the Purple Hurricanes 35-0 at home last season.

The Eagles would make the playffs with a win and an Indians' loss.