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PREP FOOTBALL: Arnold leading Eagles on both sides of ball
Arnold Feature
After winning the starting quarterback position during last season, E’Sean Arnold (3) enters 2022 still holding the reins of Eastside’s offense. (Photo by Elijah Bowman)
“I’m just an athlete who makes plays"
E'Sean Arnold

COVINGTON, Ga. — Monroe Area ran a combination route over the middle of the field in the second quarter of its scrimmage against Eastside on Wednesday. E’Sean Arnold sniffed the play out from his safety position, jumped the route and muscled the ball away from the Hurricane receiver. 

Fans, coaches and players were ecstatic in their celebration. Within earshot of the play, Eastside’s principal Jeff Cher yelled, “That’s why our quarterback also plays safety!” 

But, according to head coach Jay Cawthon, Arnold’s play at safety and quarterback is one and the same. 

“E’Sean has become more a leader from how he does his thing,” Cawthon said. “He knows the offense a little bit better. He’s not looking over his shoulder, because he knows he’s the quarterback on both sides of the ball.” 

Being able to play both “quarterback” positions all game is no big deal for the senior, either. 

“I’m just an athlete who makes plays,” Arnold said. 

Arnold was originally the Eagles’ backup quarterback, but was moved to starting safety entering last season. However, during the season, Arnold also claimed the signal caller spot. 

He’s never relinquished control since. 

In his junior season, Arnold completed 61% of his passes while throwing five touchdowns and two interceptions. Arnold added two rushing touchdowns to his resume as he was the Eagles’ third leading rusher averaging 8.3 yards per carry. 

Now Arnold enters this season as the No. 1 quarterback for Eastside. That responsibility has seemed to add fuel to Arnold’s desire to be a leader. 

“I just have to play with confidence and play fast,” Arnold said. “I need to know what I’m doing leading the offense.” 

Defensively last year, Arnold tallied 31 tackles, 27 of which were solo tackles, and deflected three passes. 

Arnold's aspirations for this season are high. He wants to collect five interceptions and 40 tackles on defense. On offense, he wants to rush for 500 yards while having 1,000 yards in the air. 

However, with those personal goals set, Arnold recognized the team’s goal “to go undefeated and win the region.” 

Arnold stressed it will be a team effort to accomplish both in 2022. 

“I need to know what everyone is doing and know what I’m doing,” Arnold said. “Then, hold everyone accountable and [my teammates] hold me accountable to do our jobs.” 

Cawthon believes that Arnold has what it takes to help lead the Eagles all the way in 2022. 

“The confidence aspect for him has grown a lot since last year,” Cawthon said. “I see a guy who is standing more upright at practices knowing what to do.”