Eastside pulled out all of the stops to preserve its 10-9 victory over the Loganville Red Devils on Friday night at Sharp Stadium.
Friday’s contest had a lot of pivotal moments in it. But the definitive play came with 6:53 remaining in the third quarter.
Loganville came out of halftime and put together another one of its time-consuming drives. Slowly but surely, the Red Devils marched down the field and eventually scored their only touchdown of the night.
However, on the ensuing extra point attempt, Devin Pugh consequently missed the kick which proved to be enough to give Eastside the win.
After the score, Eastside spent most of the second half with its back against the wall clinging to a 1-point lead.
Though there were a lot of critical situations, none was more vital to the Eagles’ win than when Loganville faced a fourth and four halfway through the final frame of action.
With the ball placed in Eagles territory, Loganville had the ball at the 35-yard line.
Anticipating a fake punt, head coach Jay Cawthon called for a punt safe instead of a traditional return.
Cawthon’s intuition was right.
Pugh took the snap, ran trying to get to the right edge, but was stuffed by D’Von Duplessis forcing a turnover on downs.
Once again, the Eagles made a play when they needed to most.
Even though Eastside’s offense was shut out in the second half, they also made plays in critical situations, too.
Led by Kenai Grier and Dallas Johnson, the Eagles’ rushing attack was able to break off some huge runs to advance the ball and burn more clock.
A long run actually set up Eastside’s lone touchdown of the contest.
Grier ripped off a 44-yard rush that put the ball deep in Loganville territory.
Three plays later, Grier was found by quarterback E’Sean Arnold wide open in the right corner of the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown reception.
The Red Devils weren’t able to put together such explosive runs.
Loganville was, however, successful in developing a string of runs to place its kicker in field goal range.
Pugh scored the inaugural points of the contest when he split the uprights from 23 yards out to give Loganville a 3-0 advantage.
Pugh’s field goal capped off a 15-play drive. Avery Hamilton did most of the damage on the ground rushing for 56 yards on six rushes.
In response to that, Eastside’s offense set up its field goal kicker to tie the game with 4:46 remaining in the first half.
Rodney Williams trotted out to nail a 47-yard field goal to draw even 3-3. Williams’ field goal was a season long for the senior kicker.
With Grier’s touchdown score, the Eagles led 10-3 at halftime.
Those two scores would be enough for the Eagles to improve to 4-3 on the season. They also get back to .500 with a 2-2 region record.
Eastside will have two weeks to savor this victory as it has a bye week next week. Its next game will be on the road at Jackson County for another Region 8-AAAAA matchup.