CONYERS, Ga. – Fresh off an emotional 2-1 win against Woodward Academy, the Eastside Eagles came into Friday night’s Region 4-AAAA contest with Salem sporting a newly minted No. 5 ranking in Class AAAA, and was looking to play as such.
After notching an 8-0 victory at Salem while putting on an offensive clinic, it's safe to say that the Eagles stayed true to form.
The Eagles earned their first two goals in relatively quick fashion as Kade Mote made an excellent run past a defender up the sideline and easily put the ball in the back of the net at the 26:20 mark.
Two minutes later, Hunter Rowell was taken down in the box and was sent up to take the penalty. Rowell hit a powerful shot to the right of the goal that just barely missed the outstretched arms of the Salem keeper.
The Eagles were kept off the scoreboard for the next 10 minutes, but once they scored on a beautiful 35-yard shot from Chris Overfelt that sailed over the keeper’s head, the floodgates were opened.
With a 3-0 lead in just a little over five minutes of play Eastside kept pouring it on en route to a 7-0 halftime advantage with goals scored by Wesley Hudgins, Mote and Jackson Jolley and Kevin Manley.
Eastside would add one more goal to its total when Caden Coggins launched a rocket shot past the goalie, providing the final margin.
Head coach Champ Young was more than pleased with his team’s efforts and how they stayed focused after an emotionally charged 2-1 victory over Woodward Academy in their last match which came over a week ago and the postponing of the Luella match.
“We just tried to stay sharp, and we were just trying to not get out of character of what we normally want to do,” Young said. “It was really hard to beat out their offside trap from them, and a lot of that was because we were a little slow, and maybe that was because we hadn’t played a game since last Thursday.”
The Eagles did an outstanding job of forcing the Seminoles to play their game, and as a result, Eastside enjoyed possession for most of the night.
“You don’t have to play as defense as much when you own the ball as much and we tried to keep it that way,” Young said. “We really tried to just squeeze the life out of the game for them and make them chase us.”
Earning such a commanding lead so early allowed Young to play a lot of younger guys, which he always hopes to do. Based on the time and effort the entire roster invests into the program, Young said he always wants to give them as much playing time as he can especially, in a region game like this.
Eastside will face Newton Saturday afternoon at Sharp Stadium. After the Rams, The Eagles will get back to region play Wednesday night as they travel to take on the undefeated Luella Lions.
Young knows that this will be another big test and he has done a lot in preparation for that game, as it will decide sole possession of the top spot in Region 4-AAAA.
“Luella is a big game and I’ve spent a lot of time scouting this one and they have a kid up top that is very dangerous,” said Young. “They’re very talented, and it’s going to be like a Woodward game. We’re just going to have to show up and play well that night.”