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Wildcats’ comeback shocks Eagles
Eastside Upset
Eastside running back Dallas Johnson (3) works to move through Apalachee's defense in the first half of the game in Winder Friday night. - photo by Garrett Pitts

WINDER, Ga. — Eastside lost its second game of the season Friday night as they lost a nail-biter to the Apalachee Wildcats by a score of 22-21 in what was a run-heavy game for both teams. 

Coming off their blowout victory of Johnson-Gainesville, the Eagles (3-1, 1-0) were looking to continue their momentum in Region 8-AAAAA as they went on the road to face Apalachee. 

It would not take long for the Eagles to break-in the scoreboard as junior running back Kenai Grier would find the endzone on the run to put the Eagles up 7-0. 

Apalachee, which leaned heavily on the run game, was stopped early by the Eagles as the Wildcats were forced into two three-and-outs to open the game. 

After an Apalachee punt that was downed on the Eagles’ one-yard line, the Wildcats forced a fumble from senior Dallas Johnson to give the ball back to the offense just nine-yards out from the touchdown. 

It would only take one play for the Wildcats to score as quarterback Isaiah Skinner took the ball in himself for the nine-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7-7 halfway through the second quarter. 

With the game primarily based around the run game for most of the first half, the Eagles took to the air with junior quarterback E’sean Arnold. 

It paid off in a big way. Arnold rolled to his left before throwing a dart to Grier down the sideline for the 87-yard touchdown pass to give the Eagles the lead back at 14-7. 

The Eagles went into the halftime locker room with all the momentum 

On the Eagles’ first offensive drive of the second half, Johnson and Grier would carry the ball through the Apalachee defense with ease as Eastside would have another good scoring opportunity inside of the red zone. 

Arnold would call his own number as the junior quarterback would rush for the ten-yard touchdown to extend the Eastside lead to 21-7 halfway through the third quarter. 

The Wildcats responded on the ensuing drive by scoring on a seven-yard rush by Skinner to bring the game within one score at 21-14. 

With only 0:44 left in the game, the Wildcats would find their way into the endzone on a two-yard rush by Colby Sikes. Instead of going for the extra-point attempt to tie the game, the Wildcats went for two and converted on another rush by Spikes to take a 22-21 lead over the Eagles. 

Eastside then got the ball to midfield but would ultimately fail to score on the final drive as Apalachee took the region game over the Eagles. 

Despite the loss, both Grier and Arnold put together solid games for the Eagles as both came away with touchdowns.