COVINGTON, Ga. — The weather provided all the commentary needed for the way Eastside’s last game of the season went down.
As a steady but non-drenching rain slowly saturated the field at Sharp Stadium Friday night, in like manner, top-ranked Blessed Trinity methodically dominated No. 4 Eastside with a punishing run game that slowly drained the life out of a normally opportunistic defense.
The Titans gained over 350 yards rushing, and got a big night from Jackson Hamilton who rushed for 162 yards on 13 carries with three touchdowns, while 4-star prospect Steele Chambers chipped in with 124 yards on 17 carries and two scores of his own en route to a 42-15 Blessed Trinity win that punched its ticket to the semifinals next Friday, while ending Eastside’s historic season with a thud.
It left Eastside head coach, Troy Hoff having to acknowledge the machine that was Blessed Trinity’s football team Friday night, while also paying homage to his seniors who played their last game in Eastside green.
“We ran into a buzzsaw tonight,” Hoff said.
Things actually started similarly to the way it began last week at the start of the Burke County game with Eastside falling behind early. But this time, the Eagles couldn’t punch back.
“I think there were a lot of factors in that,” Hoff said. “Number one, (Blessed Trinity) is a really good football team with a high level of talent that, when they do get you down, they make things hard. Tonight we had a few things at times, and we couldn’t get out of our own way, and then at times they forced us into situations. But I won’t take anything away from them. Coach (Tim) McFarlin’s done a great job with that team.
“That’s a championship team that’s going to make a run at another one, and you know, tonight they just had our number.”
After Blessed Trinity forced an Eastside three-and-out, the Titans went to work offensively, with a four-play, 53-yard drive that took just 1:49 and ended with Steele Chambers bullying his way into the end zone from three yards out, giving Blessed Trinity an early 7-0 lead.
After a brief stalemate to end the first quarter, and another 3-and-out drive for Eastside, Blessed Trinity would find the end zone again, and it was Chambers coming through for the second time of the game, this time scoring on a 9-yard touchdown run just 14 seconds into the second quarter. Eastside blocked the extra point, though, keeping the Titans’ lead at 13-0.
The inability of Eastside’s offense to get on track caused the Eagles’ defense to spend an inordinate amount of time on the field, and Blessed Trinity commenced to running the ball right at them. Their next score — a 30-yard touchdown run by Jackson Hamilton — was a simple off-tackle play with a quarterback faking a left-side rollout.
Hamilton slashed his way through the heart of Eastside’s defense for the touchdown, and the subsequent two-point conversion run extended the Titans’ lead to 21-0 with 7:11 left before halftime.
By this point, the pattern of the game became predictable. Eastside’s fourth 3-and-out gave way for Smith to go play-action and find Ryan Davis over the middle all alone for a 39-yard scoring strike.
The Titans would add another 10-yard score onto the board when Hamilton went around right end for his second rushing touchdown — untouched. That score provided a 35-0 Halftime margin.
Eastside did make some things happen for it midway through the third quarter after forcing the Titans to punt which resulted in a high snap. The turnover gave Eastside the ball on the Blessed Trinity 23-yard line, and Noah Cook promptly hooked up with a wide open Antavious Cobb for a 23-yard touchdown toss-and-catch.
A two-point conversion pass from Cook to Jerry Mays chopped the lead to 35-8 at the 7:15 mark of the third quarter. But Blessed Trinity answered right back with a 10-yard touchdown scamper by Hamilton less than a minute later.
Eastside’s Taylor Carter punched it in from four yards out with 27 seconds left to provide the game’s final margin, and the senior’s final score of his impressive Eagles career.
Hoff called it a fitting end for Carter, who’s effort, he said, embodied what his entire senior class stood for, and he couldn’t let them leave the Sharp Stadium locker room for the last time without voicing his appreciation.
“Thank you,” Hoff said. “That’s what I told them. They’ve done so much for our program, not just on the field, but off the field. How they carry themselves. How they work. How they set the standard for the way things should be done, and the way you should play the game. I’m really grateful for them. It’s a great crew, and I’m looking forward to their future.”
Continue to check in with covnews.com for more coverage on Eastside’s season finale with Blessed Trinity.