Last week, Eastside traveled down to Wayne County where they, as No. 4 seed, upset the No. 1 seeded Yellow Jackets 4-1 pitting them against Whitewater in the second round, which took place in Fayetteville on Wednesday. Unfortunately, the Eagles were outmatched by a Whitewater team that made some incredible shots on its way to an 8-0 win over Eastside.
The game started on good terms for Eastside, despite trailing 1-0 after just five minutes of play. The Eagles kept the game within one for much of the entire first half, and they even missed a couple of opportunities to get an equalizer early, but they came up short or long and those missed opportunities haunted them for the rest of the game.
“The longer it went at 1-0 I felt like we were doing pretty well, but as soon as they got that third one it hurt us. If we’d a put that one in and made it 1-1 it would’ve made it a much, much different game. It is what it is. That’s the way this game is played sometimes, you don’t get all the bounces,” Young said.
Eastside trailed by just two at halftime and the outlook of the game was promising. The Eagles let up a third goal off of a free kick at the 31:15 mark and then the floodgates opened. Eastside was called for a foul just three minutes later and Hagen Clements lined up 35 yards out from the goal and drilled a shot to put the Wildcats up 4-0, and the rest is history.
“I talked to Jackson (goalkeeper) after the game,” Young said. “There’s nothing you can do about three of those for sure. Four of the five they let in, you don’t have a chance at any of them so I mean tough break on that. They were definitely backbreakers.”
The Wildcats scored four goals in the next 14 minutes and put the Eagles to put bed. With the loss, Young becomes the first coach, boys or girls, to lead his team to the second round twice.
With a nucleus made up primarily of sophomores, Eastside head coach Champ Young hopes the team will use the loss as motivation going forward.
“We have young captains so they’re gonna have to be much more accountable for the younger guys. We’ve got good players coming up to. We’ve got kids that are at that level coming up in our JV program,” Young said.
Young hopes one sophomore in particular, Terrell Francis, takes the game to heart. Francis was one of the bright spots for the Eagles in the game, although he’s just a sophomore he was a leader in the back of the defense.
“That’s why we chose him to be the captain,” Young said. “I’ve never had a sophomore captain, we’ve always had seniors, but that’s the first time I’ve had a sophomore. You see why, man. His voice projects, he leads, he’s a natural leader. This’ll resonate with him for the next two years that he’s with us. I mean it hurts now, but it’ll help us in the long run, a lot in the long run.”
Young plans on reminding his team that these things can happen, but he says that if they work like they’re supposed to they won’t happen. Young says going forward he plans to make sure the kids are more accountable. He says he wants better touch work, fitness and says there will be more year-round stuff.
Young realizes his team was just outmatched, but he wished they’d competed better in the first half. He says the team has progressed since the beginning of the season.
Young said, “Overall we still have the weaknesses that we had in the beginning, but I think as a unit we were strong.”