Ri­val teams pre­pare for open press con­fer­ence

East­side, New­ton foot­ball clash hel­mets Fri­day in sea­son-opener

The Covington News - - SPORTS - By Ja­son Mur­dock

Just like any NFL or­ga­ni­za­tion takes the podium on Satur­day be­fore each game to ad­dress the me­dia, both the East­side and New­ton foot­ball pro­grams will do the same next week be­fore their sea­son-opener against each other.

A press con­fer­ence de­tail­ing the East­side vs. New­ton crosstown matchup will be held at 7 p.m. Thurs­day at The Oaks Course.

The event is open to any­one free of charge. It will in­clude play­ers and coaches rep­re­sent­ing both teams who will share their views to­ward the game and the im­por­tance of a high school foot­ball ri­valry, among other top­ics.

“It’s that home­town ri­valry feel­ing that you get, and this year is go­ing to be spe­cial,” said Vir­gil Lewis, pres­i­dent of the New­ton High School Booster Club. “It means a lot (and) it’s go­ing to be an ex­cit­ing game.”

Orig­i­nally, the idea came from New­ton first-year head coach Nick Collins, but Lewis has taken the horns in hopes of cre­at­ing more ex­po­sure for both pro­grams.

“I’ve watched that tape (un­til) my eyes have gone crossed,” laughed Collins, re­fer­ring to the 2006 matchup be­tween New­ton and

East­side.

In an ef­fort to gen­er­ate more at­ten­tion, Lewis has al­ready con­tacted 11Alive’s Fred Kalil and FoxTV’s Buck Lan­ford among oth­ers in hopes of hav­ing the event named Game of the Week, which would even­tu­ally air on television.

With the an­nounce­ment of the me­dia fo­rum comes proof that this par­tic­u­lar game is no or­di­nary bat­tle on the grid­iron.

In fact, it’s quite the op­po­site: This game means ev­ery­thing to not only East­side and New­ton, but also to all of the fans who sup­port the pro­grams year-in and yearout.

Bar none, it will be the most com­pet­i­tive and ex­cit­ing game east of At­lanta, which is say­ing quite a lot con­sid­er­ing all of the tal­ent scat­tered through­out the area.

For East­side head coach Rick Hurst, his 21-20 win over New­ton last year was his first vic­tory — a me­mory he will al­ways trea­sure and never for­get. How­ever, it was a dif­fer­ent story in 2005, when the Rams won 27-20.

Ac­cord­ing to Hurst, his squad “fi­nally un­der­stands this game is not the world” be­cause if the Ea­gles fall, they “still have nine more games to play, which are the ones that re­ally count.”

“W e can’t go out and just lay an egg against East­side. This is not just an­other game. We have to go out and not just per­form, but we have to per­form well. We have to make peo­ple be­lieve there is some­thing here to see.”

— Nick Collins Foot­ball head coach, New­ton High School

With­out ques­tion those state­ments ring true. At the same time, the vic­tory pro­pelled the Ea­gles to a solid 55 record in 2006 — a re­mark­able im­prove­ment con­sid­er­ing they had pre­vi­ously lost 20 con­sec­u­tive games be­fore top­ping New­ton on that fate­ful evening last year.

“If you can’t beat East­side and Al­covy, then you’re not go­ing to get a whole lot done around here,” said Collins.

But un­til he ac­tu­ally takes the field against Hurst and com­pany, only then will the rookie head coach un­der­stand what this game re­ally means to so many folks.

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