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SPRING FOOTBALL: An overview of the first week of practice at Eastside
Eastside Football
Eastside football coach Troy Hoff addresses his team after Friday's spring football practice session. Hoff has elected to forego a spring game in order to allow the program to concentrate solely on itself during the 10-day period. - photo by Tyler Williams

COVINGTON, Ga. — Learn. Practice. Repeat. 

This is the basic formula being used by high school coaches across the state as spring practice is now in full swing. 

Eastside head coach Troy Hoff not only uses this plan, but he does it with great depth. Spring practices in his eyes are a way to continually develop his experienced players, while also introducing new guys to the “Eastside family.”

Welcome to Eastside

Last season, it was transfers like soon-to-graduate running back Tyon Davis and newcomers like Quincy Cullins, Jr. who were able to make huge impacts on the team, and Hoff is looking for the same success heading into the 2018 season with over 20 incoming freshmen looking to make their mark. 

Most will work their way into the team’s schemes and develop each year, potentially moving into starting roles during their sophomore or junior campaigns.

For example, freshman quarterback Gavin Mask, who will learn from Noah Cook and Jaylen Woods, will also add depth to that position. While Cook was absent from practice because of baseball, Woods and Mask were out getting the reps that Hoff noted were much needed. 

Then there are incoming freshmen standouts like Ramon Hernandez. 

Hernandez was a known name in the middle school season this past fall. He was one of the driving forces behind the Cousins Cardinals’ undefeated season, capped off with a NewRock League championship. 

Although he will be a freshman, his potential to make an immediate impact has allowed him to get reps with the experienced players as he looks to keep the wheels of the Eagles running game turning. 

Seasoned Playmakers Abound

His mentors come in the form of the returning two-headed monster that helped power that outstanding run game last season in Taylor Carter and Quincy Cullins, who are among the numerous talented players returning to an Eastside squad that seems stacked at the skill spots. 

Joining them are standouts like Jamari Brown, Dalton Whitley, Dustin Morgan, and kicker Kade Mote, all of whom garner experience in different position groups. 

No Spring Game for Eagles

Hoff stated that the focus for the next week-and-a-half will be to establish team chemistry along with getting everyone back into full football mode and the grind that comes with it, which is why he opted to not participate in a spring game. 

He noted that he did not want to add the stress of establishing a game plan for a spring game when not everything has come together yet. 

“We’re still building that speed to turn up off the runway,” he told his players in their post-practice huddle. 

Although they’re still working to bring everyone up to speed, they’ll have several more days of practice to establish the groundwork for the upcoming season before they jump into summer workouts.