Ea­gles: Fall­ing just short of qual­i­fy­ing for play­offs

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The Covington News - - SPORTS -

onds left un­til half­time.

East­side had a chance to tie the game en­ter­ing the break; how­ever, run­ning back Johnny Nor­ring­ton lost the han­dle on the Gla­di­a­tor 11-yard line. The fum­ble was re­cov­ered by Clarke Cen­tral’s Beau Evans.

“In big games like this you can’t re­lax one bit,” noted Hurst. “Un­for­tu­nately, those things have hap­pened to us on too many oc­ca­sions in those kinds of sit­u­a­tions, and you can’t do that against a good foot­ball team.”

But the dag­ger in the heart for East­side came 14 sec­onds into the third quar­ter when Smith re­turned the open­ing kick­off 90 yards for the touch­down. Af­ter the ex­tra point by Erick­son, the Gla­di­a­tors led 14-0.

“Thank good­ness we had that kick­off re­turn,” said Ryals. “We told our kids spe­cial teams would be huge for us, and we needed it.”

In ad­di­tion, Smith had three tack­les and one in­ter­cep­tion.

“Our de­fense played the best that I could ask them to play,” said Hurst. “Some­times this stuff hap­pens; we got down there and just couldn’t con­vert. They made one more play than we made, and that kick­off re­turn killed us.”

hey’ve got noth­ing to be ashamed of. I’m ex­tremely proud of our se­niors and what they’ve meant to this pro­gram for the last three years. It’s un­for­tu­nate they don’t get to ex­pe­ri­ence what I wanted them to, but it’s a step­ping stone.”

— Rick Hurst Foot­ball head coach, East­side High School

The score would re­main the same un­til 11:02 into the fourth quar­ter. Af­ter the Ea­gles put to­gether a wellor­ga­nized 14-play drive, it ended when quar­ter­back Justin Wray threw a 12-yard touch­down strike to Nor­ring­ton.

Larenzo Echols and Nor­ring­ton com­bined for 80 yards on 14 car­ries.

The point-af­ter by Yan­rick Tin­ker had East­side on the score­board 14-7 with 58 sec­onds left in the game.

Over­all, Wray was 15-of-31 with one touch­down and one in­ter­cep­tion. He also rushed for 82 yards on 12 car­ries.

“We didn’t give up,” said Hurst. “They don’t ever quit; they al­ways play that way, and it’s al­ways go­ing to give us a chance to win games. I was ex­tremely proud that we (went) down that far with un­der a minute and had a chance to win the ball­game.”

Af­ter what looked like a suc­cess­ful on­side kick re­cov­ery by East­side, it wasn’t to be, and the Gla­di­a­tors took a knee on the fi­nal two plays to end the game and ex­tend their sea­son.

East­side’s Brod­er­ick Alexan­der led all re­ceivers with five catches for 48 yards. An­drico Bai­ley had four re­cep­tions for 47 yards.

De­fen­sively, Clarke Cen­tral out­side line­backer Ter­rance Fam­bro led all play­ers with 7.5 tack­les, in­clud­ing two sacks. Do­minique Wilhite had 4.5 tack­les, while Evans had four tack­les in­clud­ing one fum­ble re­cov­ery.

East­side’s Mau­rice Gaither had a team-high 6.5 tack­les. William White had 5.5 tack­les, in­clud­ing one sack. Kaleb Pass had 4.5 tack­les, in­clud­ing one fum­ble re­cov­ery.

Ac­cord­ing to Hurst, his se­nior lead­er­ship is what he will miss most from this year’s team.

“They’re just a good group to be around,” said Hurst. “There’s not one of them I wouldn’t bring home with me; there’s not one I wouldn’t have in my house to take home and raise and that’s the kind of kids they are. That’s a tes­ta­ment to their par­ents and fam­i­lies. I love them to death, and I’m go­ing to miss them a lot.”

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