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With lack of vets, Eastside turns to rookies
Josh Sims celebrates a receiving touchdown during an Eastside football game. - photo by File Photo

Eastside athletics has had a great spring. The men’s track and field team won its first ever state title, and the baseball team had a Final Four finish in the state playoffs following an exciting season.

But while these two teams were still competing, the football team was without a few veterans during spring practice.

“We were missing a few key pieces,” said head coach Troy Hoff. “Our quarterback and leading receiver were with baseball and our leading running back was with track, along with another [defensive back] and wide receiver.”

Star wide receiver Josh Sims, who recently announced via his twitter account that he received an offer from Tennessee Tech, and starting quarterback Austin Holloway spent the spring playing for the baseball team, with Holloway serving as team captain.

Running back Eric Stokes helped lead the Eagles to their first track state title with his win in the 100-meter, while also taking gold in the 4x100 relay with receiver Tiaje Thomas.

In their absence, coach Hoff was able to focus on his younger players in practice.

“We had a good spring,” he said. “It was a chance for us to get a lot of good work with our younger guys and to teach some of the younger guys in their positions. I’m pleased with the effort and how we handled it.”

Though the offense was without a few key roles, the core of the team remained intact.

“I think defensively we had a really good spring, just because we had a lot of veteran guys there with some really good leadership,” Hoff said. “In general, our seniors and upperclassmen did a really good job. If we’re looking at the core of the team, everyone else played with their work ethic and got better. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re looking for. We got our work in, got better, and we left healthy. Everybody is ready for the summer.”

When the veterans return for the summer, the team will be that much stronger.

“I know with our guys that our goal is to be ready to play every week,” Hoff said. “We talk about putting in our work throughout the week in this offseason to put us in the position to be successful. I think if we stay healthy and continue to practice at a high level, then we can put ourselves in a position to win some football games and have a competitive season.”