Eastside survives improbable comeback, defeats Newton 29-27
Maybe it was the full moon. Maybe it was a case of one team's determination to over come the odds. Whatever was the case, Eastside and Newton put on a show in front of a packed Sharp Stadium Friday with the Eagles escaping with a 29-27 double-overtime win to claim the county championship.
Justin Wray scored the go-ahead touchdown in the second overtime and the Broderick Alexander's 2point conversion forced Newton to score and go for two. Demetrius McCray answered with a touchdown for the Rams but the Eagles stopped him on the 2-point conversion attempt to seal the victory.
“My hat’s off to (Newton coach) Nick (Collins) and that team. They played their butts off,” Eastside coach Rick Hurst said.
Newton used a 23-play drive that encompassed nearly the entire fourth quarter to score the tying touchdown with 1.3 seconds left in regulation and force overtime.
In overtime, both teams failed to score on its first possession. After Newton missed a 27-yard field goal, Eastside had the ball inside the 10yard line needing only a field goal to win. The Eagles elected to go for a touchdown and Wray's third-down pass over the middle was picked off by linebacker Quinton Pooler.
“That call got through and I agreed to it and I shouldn’t have,” Hurst said. “I told the kicker if we got the ball inside the 10, I was going to give him a shot to win the ball game. I have to do a better job of that.”
Eastside capitalized on its next possession as Wray scored on a 6yard run. The Eagles lined up for the extra point but an illegal formation penalty against the Rams gave them the ball on the one and Hurst elected to go for the two-point conversion. The call paid off and the Eagles took an eight-point lead.
Newton responded on its attempt from the 15-yard line as McCray scored on a 6-yard touchdown run. Needing the two-point conversion to extend overtime, McCray took a quarterback option to the left side but came up short as Zach Johnson shot the gap and tackled him for a loss and preserve the win.
“I felt like they were coming back with the exact same play,” Hurst said.
Marks walked and stole second and third, then Springer walked then stole her way to second and third.
Marks came in on a wild pitch before Springer raced home on yet another wild pitch.
Shea McInerny walked and stole second and made it to third safely on the overthrow before coming in on a wild pitch.
Haleigh Higgins walked and went to second on a wild pitch and rounded the base to end up on third before she also came home on a wild pitch.
The Lady Raiders came up in the top of the fourth the same way they did in the previous innings with Sheppard sending Redan batters back to the dugout in a hurry, getting two strikeouts in the inning.
The Lady Rams did likewise in their half of the fourth going three up and three down, but the damage had been done.
In the top of the fifth, the Lady Raiders leadoff hitter went down swinging, the next two hitters walked setting up a double steal attempt.
Newton’s defense thwarted the double steal attempt by turning a stunning 2-5-4 double play.
Marks came up out of her crouch behind the plate and rifled a throw to Springer who caught the runner at third.
Springer made the tag then caught the runner going to second on the tail end of the double play to end the inning and give the Lady Rams the 8-0 run-rule region victory.
“We’ve struggled the last few games.” said Newton coach Ja- son La Chappelle. “It was a good win for us because it was a region win, and it’s always a good to get a win in your region.”
Newton ended with eight runs off three hits, while Sheppard held Redan scoreless and gave up just one hit.
Oh what a game: Brandon Pettit (57) jumps in the air after Zach Johnson (16) made the game saving tackle of Newton quarterback Demetrius McCray (7) in the second overtime of Eastside's 29-27 win at Sharp Stadium Friday.