Eastside-Woodward Postgame with Coach Hoff
COVINGTON, Ga. -- The Eastside Eagles not only avenged its last two losses to Woodward Academy, including last year's narrow and controversial defeat, but they also put themselves in pole position for the Region 4-AAAA title with Salem (4-2, 3-0) paying a visit to Sharp Stadium this Friday.
On today's Monday Rewind, Tyler Williams takes a look back at some things he gleaned from Friday's game, and we share our postgame recap interviews with coach Troy Hoff and running back Taylor Carter.
1. Eastside has tremendous heart. The Eagles have shown us in the past that they are a resilient bunch. In the first half of this game, they did not look like the Eagles team that ran through their opponents and defeated a Class AAAAAAA country rival in the Newton Rams. Every play that they presented was either not executed well or were snuffed out by the Woodward defense. Mistakes and big plays allowed Woodward to go up 24-7 at halftime. The rest writes itself. To be able to come out of the locker room and outscore a talented War Eagles team 31-7 in the second half is nothing short of incredible. The game itself was drama-filled, and came down to the last play, giving the Eagles a classic that will be talked about for years to come.
2. Taylor Carter proves just how vital he is once again. He had a rushing score on a wildcat keeper near the goal line, and then a 63-yard touchdown reception where he caught a lob pass from a scrambling Noah Cook and made some moves en route to the end zone. Despite those two touchdowns, he still had a dominant game on the ground that included several hard runs outside of the tackles. He is shifty and fast, but he’s also tough to bring down. But as good as he is, he is just as humble, and always gives credit to his offensive line first.
3. Jeff Haynes made the most heroic play for Eastside in recent memory. The Eagles had just tied the game at 31 with a Kade Mote field goal with just a few minutes remaining. It was up to the defense to get a stop and make sure Woodward did not jump out in front again. It appeared that the War Eagles scored on a double pass to Tahj Gary who was wide open for the score. But a holding call negated the touchdown and pushed Woodward back. What happened next was a heroic play for the ages. Haynes jumped out in front of a Woodward pass and took it 52-yards to the house, giving Eastside its first lead of the game with under two minutes remaining. It would ultimately become the game-winner, meaning Haynes can walk the halls of Eastside with his chest out a bit for the next few days.
Eastside-Woodward Postgame with Taylor Carter
4. Eagles = Avengers. In 2017, Eastside only had two losses on its regular season record. One was a 40-0 defeat at the hands of Newton. The other, a loss to Woodward that featured a controversial ending that was brought up and thought about all week prior to this meeting. Earlier in the season, Eastside toppled Newton in a 27-20 thriller, and with Newton out of the way, the Eagles set their sights on avenging their Woodward loss as well. Their 38-31 win was just that and more. Many players know how emotionally impactful this win is and how much it means to them. Eastside had never beaten Woodward Academy until this meeting, making it just a little more special.
5. Is it too early to start thinking 10-0? History was made in this win being that it was the first ever Eastside has ever started a season 6-0. Moving forward, the Eagles have a very strong chance at not losing a game this season at all, something that’s never been done in school history. They still have Salem, Druid Hills, Henry County and Hampton on their schedule. All of those games, one would have to think, are winnable if Eastside executes, and they will likely be favored in each. As long as they avoid a disastrous loss to one of these aforementioned teams, the 2018 Eagles could become the very first Eastside football team to be undefeated.