COVINGTON, Ga. — The new kids on the block are doing just fine.
In its first season as members of Region 8-AAAAA, Eastside is sitting at 6-2 on the year and 4-1 against region opponents with two weeks to go. The club will look to keep the show going on Friday night when it welcomes Walnut Grove (3-5, 2-3) to Sharp Stadium.
Clarke Central, the team responsible for the Eagles’ lone league loss, collected its second straight region crown last Friday night with a dismantling of Loganville. But while the window to claim a region title has closed, the Eagles still have plenty to play for over the next two weeks.
As things currently stand, Eastside is seated comfortably at the No. 2 spot in the region. A victory over the Warriors this week would help inch them closer to a chance to host a state playoff game in the opening round.
Coming into Week 11, the biggest storyline for the Eagles will be the play of their defense.
Eastside’s defensive unit struggled to keep Clarke Central out of the end zone in mid-October, and it proved costly in a 35-34 loss. But since that night, they’ve yet to surrender another touchdown. First they held their own against Loganville in a 7-3 donnybrook two weeks ago, then they came back and pitched the first shutout of the season against Jackson County last Thursday night.
This Friday, they’ll try their hand at slowing down a Walnut Grove offense that enters averaging 19.25 points per game.
The Warriors went 0-10 last fall and got off to an 0-2 start in 2020, but it appeared as though their fortunes might be turning around in October. Following a 21-7 upset of Greenbrier, they took the hammer to hapless Johnson in a 56-7 route to mark the program’s first winning streak since 2016.
Regression toward the mean has taken place over the last three weeks, however, as Walnut Grove suffered back-to-back losses to Clarke Central (30-7) and Apalachee (19-7).
Eastside senior Jaylen Woods returned from injury to make his first start of the season at quarterback last Friday. He exited the game late in the fourth quarter with an apparent injury, but is day-to-day and will be a game-time decision this week.
In the event that Woods can’t go, the team is expected to turn back to senior Dayton Green to take snaps under center. Green has made seven starts at quarterback for the Eagles this season, completing 49 of 87 passes for 787 yards and nine touchdowns.