Don’t quit

Q & A: Hurst re­caps Ea­gles over­time thriller

The Covington News - - SPORTS - SHA­KEEM HOL­LOWAY shol­loway@cov­news.com

East­side’s theme for the foot­ball sea­son is ‘don’t quit.’ That theme couldn’t have rung more truly than in Fri­day night’s game on the road against Madi­son County. The Ea­gles came away with a thrilling vic­tory in over­time, win­ning 28-21 in the ex­tra pe­riod after trail­ing by seven with less than four min­utes to go. In this ex­clu­sive Q&A, Ea­gles head coach Rick Hurst re­caps the Ea­gles event­ful win against Madi­son and the 97-yard drive that made it hap­pen.

The Cov­ing­ton News: You told me, you guys’ theme for the sea­son is ‘don’t quit’. How much of that came out in your play­ers Fri­day night? Rick Hurst: It re­ally showed be­cause we jumped on them early, and they bat­tled back and took a lead in the third quar­ter. We were down 21-14 and things just weren’t go­ing our way. We missed a cou­ple field goal op­por­tu­ni­ties that helped give them the mo­men­tum. With three min­utes and some­thing to go, we had to drive 97 yards, tied it up and kicked the ex­tra point, which was a lit­tle bit of a mys­tery last night whether we were gonna get ‘em or not. Won the toss in over­time, we got the ball and scored on the first pos­ses­sion and then the de­fense held on. It was a to­tal team win Fri­day night. CN: Coach, talk a lit­tle bit about that 97-yard drive to tie the game. Hurst: I thought we did a re­ally good job mix­ing the run and pass. We had plenty of time, but we only had one time­out left. With our pace we didn’t re­ally need it. We were ready to go soon as things were set. Josh Sims had some big catches on the drive, Austin Hol­loway had some big throws and then An­drew Hen­der­son had a cou­ple big runs and catches. The touch­down was ac­tu­ally set up by a big catch and run by Evan House, who had a touch­down catch al­ready. He (House) got it down to the four and An­drew Hen­der­son was able to punch it in on the fi­nal play of the drive. Great pro­tec­tion up front for Austin to step in the pocket and throw and the re­ceivers do­ing a good job of get­ting open and mov­ing the chains. CN: I know we talked a lit­tle bit last week­end, you said after the game against Al­covy there was some stuff you wanted to work on. Did you see the im­prove­ment in those ar­eas Fri­day night? Hurst: In the first half they were able to get some pres­sure on Austin, which we didn’t feel last week. We gotta cor­rect that go­ing against the team we’re get­ting ready to face and then go­ing into our re­gion. I thought we did some good things de­fen­sively — the sec­ond half es­pe­cially. They tried to go spread on us, that just wasn’t gonna work with our ath­letic abil­ity and our pass rush, they just couldn’t get any­thing go­ing. Then they go to a triple op­tion look and it gave us some fits, but we were able to — in the fourth quar­ter — shut it down. Once we went back up, they had to go back to the air and I feel like that’s where our strong point is, be­cause we got such good pres­sure up front. Arthur Holmes had a big game again, he’s just a beast on our de­fen­sive line for us. I thought our kids in the sec­ondary played pretty well too. CN: Coach, you have an ex­cel­lent sopho­more class and it seems like you guys are play­ing ex­cep­tion­ally well right now. Do you think they’re play­ing above their ex­pec­ta­tions? Hurst: Nah. They ex­pect to win. They’re the most com­pet­i­tive group I’ve ever been around. Fri­day night was ev­i­dence, with Austin step­ping up and plus he’s a team cap­tain. Chandler Sweat, sopho­more on the of­fen­sive line play­ing left tackle, Josh Sims another sopho­more wide­out — they just don’t like to lose. They look for ways to make plays and they’re con­stantly com­pet­ing and try­ing to make them­selves bet­ter as well as those around them. So no, the ex­pec­ta­tions for that class is def­i­nitely great. They’re just start­ing to show it at a much ear­lier age than a lot of peo­ple would an­tic­i­pate. CN: How good do you think th­ese guys can be? Ob­vi­ously, they’re just sopho­mores so you got at least two more years with them. Hurst: Well it’s gonna be fun to watch. They’re al­ready fun to be around and fun to watch. They’re just gonna con­tinue to get bet­ter and bet­ter. I’m just thank­ful I got ‘em for two more years, and, like I said, it’s gonna fun to sit around just see how good they can be.

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