Look­ing to re­main un­beaten

Ea­gles seek­ing strong de­fense, im­proved of­fense

The Covington News - - Sports - BRYAN FAZIO bfazio@cov­news.com

Just one week into the 2012 football sea­son, only one un­beaten area team re­mains af­ter East­side’s open­ing week win over New­ton.

How­ever, the Ea­gles will take on a much tougher test to go 2-0 as Jack­son vis­its Sharp Sta­dium to­day, also look­ing for its sec­ond win.

The Red Devils de­feated Mary Per­sons 24-23 last week af­ter ral­ly­ing from a 21-10 deficit late in the third quar­ter. DeEric Bell led the way with two touch­downs and 162 yards rush­ing for Jack­son, which is ranked No. 8 in the AJC’s Class AAA poll.

Stop­ping the run­ning game will be the Ea­gles first pri­or­ity, pit­ting their tal­ented de­fen­sive line against a tough offensive line.

“I think de­fen­sively we have to continue to play ag­gres­sive,” East­side coach Rick Hurst said. “They have a tail­back who runs very hard.”

Watch­ing film from the Red Devils’ first game, Hurst said he was im­pressed with Bell break­ing through tack­les. On one play, Bell went into a pile of six de­fend­ers, be­fore emerg­ing for a 10-yard gain.

“We have to make sure we gang tackle and get to the ball ef­fec­tively,” Hurst said.

While Jack­son ex­celled at run­ning the ball against Mary Per­sons, it also has the abil­ity to move the ball through the air, be­hind an ef­fi­cient quar­ter­back.

“They like play-ac­tion a lot so we have to make sure the sec­ondary is stay­ing home and let the front eight play the run,” Hurst said.

The Ea­gles shut out New­ton a week ago be­hind a solid de­fense, which Hurst is look­ing to continue to step up.

How­ever, the offensive side of the ball is where Hurst is look­ing for the most im­prove­ment.

“We did some things last week that didn’t hit,” Hurst said. “Hope­fully we have cor­rected some mis­takes and will have a to­tal team per­for­mance.”

New­ton held the Ea­gles to un­der two yards per carry, while East­side’s pass- ing of­fense strug­gled. In week two, against a team that won’t draw as big of a crowd as the New­tonEast­side ri­valry, Hurst feels his quar­ter­back De­mario Ter­rell, will show im­prove­ment.

“I think De­mario Ter­rell didn’t play his best and he knew it,” Hurst said. “Com­ing in Mon­day, he knew he hur­ried up and re­ally wasn’t go­ing through his reads prop­erly. It was a lit­tle dif­fi­cult for him.”

Along with Ter­rell, East­side’s offensive line also has to step up as the Red Devils boast two top-tier play­ers, in­clud­ing a Van­der­bilt com­mit­tee.

“They’re very com­pa­ra­ble to New­ton as far as de­fen­sively,” Hurst said. “They’ve got a good de­fen­sive line.”

East­side has de­feated Jack­son each of the pre­vi­ous three meet­ings be­tween the two teams, but will face a tougher chal­lenge against the Red Devils this year. Jack­son, of Re­gion 2-AAA, shared a re­gion with East­side be­fore the Ge­or­gia High School As­so­ci­a­tion’s re­clas­si­fi­ca­tion, where the Ea­gles edged out the Red Devils by a game a year ago.

“We faced them last year and did some good things against them,” Hurst said. “If we’re go­ing to have a chance to win the ball game (to­day), we def­i­nitely have to do that.”

An­thony Banks /The Cov­ing­ton News

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