COVINGTON, Ga. -- The Eastside Eagles fell 42-15 Friday night to a tremendously talented and determined Blessed Trinity squad, ending their historic 2018 campaign with a 12-1 record and a ton of long-lasting memories for what all was accomplished this year.
Our Tyler Williams gives his five hot takes on the action in our last “Five Things Learned” of the football season.
1. In most cases, private and public should not mix. This may sound controversial, or it may sound like I’m a homer, but this is just something I, along with other fans around the state, have observed and have agreed on. I do not think that private schools that are allowed to provide scholarships to and/or recruit top athletes from anywhere in the state should be playing public schools that have to deal with whatever players fall into their school zone. Again, this is not me being salty at the outcome of the game. Blessed Trinity is a good program with incredible coaches and athletes. The Titans have made a name for themselves, but they should be doing that anyway with the level of talent they are allowed to bring to their school. Bottom line, private schools of such caliber should play other private schools that have those same opportunities. Let’s make things competitive and fair.
2. A David versus Goliath battle that Goliath won. Again, this Blessed Trinity team is absolutely loaded with talent. The Titans are the Goliath’s of Class AAAA and have been since they dethroned Cartersville en route to a state title last season. Eastside was already a heavy underdog heading into this game. There were maybe two players on the Titans entire squad that were under six feet. It became apparent quickly that they were going to be outplayed on all sides of the ball, and that’s exactly what happened. That’s not a knock on Eastside. That just shows how talented this Titans team is.
3. The Eagles showed some fight as they’ve done all year. On the surface, it may have seemed like Eastside was never really in the game. However, there were times the Eagles showed some grit and went toe to toe with Blessed Trinity. One time came early in the game where Jamari Brown forced a sack that kept the Titans out of scoring range. Another came near the beginning of the second half when Noah Cook found Antavious Cobb for a 24-yard touchdown. Then, the final touchdown of the Eagles season came when senior Taylor Carter fittingly walked into the end zone from four yards out. The fight is more than enough for the Eagles to be proud of, despite the final score.
4. Mother Nature is not the Eagles friend. The first game of the season should have been a warning sign for how the entire year would go for Eastside, weather wise. In its season opener at Ola, there were two lightning delays – one at the beginning of the game, and one at halftime – that forced action to be delayed so badly that the game was not over until 11:40. Then, they had to call the North Clayton game early because of lightning. Weather conditions even forced a location change last week because Sharp stadium was in less-than-ideal condition. To all of that I say, props to the team and fans who braved the elements, including Friday night’s side-ways downpour.
5. It’s a season to remember. First team in county history to finish a regular season undefeated. Region 4-AAA champs. Record for most points scored in a season. Dramatic wins against Newton, Woodward Academy and Burke County. This season has been incredibly fun to cover, and I know it was fun for everyone else involved as well. The Eagles made history in so many ways.
Think about that. This team will forever remember what it did on that field in those thirteen games it played this season. Not only that, but they have each cemented a legacy in the school that will never be forgotten. One day, 20 years from now a player like Taylor Carter may look back at his stiff-arm touchdown against Hardaway and tell his children about what that team was able to do. Jeff Haynes may recall his game-winning pick six against Woodward Academy to his friends at a party. A lot of players on this team will be around next year and will get another chance to raise the standard once more.
However, the ones who played their final game in this quarterfinal round will go their separate ways eventually. Wherever they end up, I’m sure they will end up defeating any obstacle in their way, like they defeated the 12 teams that stood between them and their appearance in the state playoff’s round of eight.