East­side to face No. 3 ranked Grif­fin

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

This isn’t David vs. Go­liath. East­side (2-0 Re­gion 4-AAAA) is too good of a team to be David, but Grif­fin (2-0 Re­gion 4-AAAA), ranked No. 3 in the state by maxpreps.com, is def­i­nitely go­liath-level foot­ball. A bet­ter com­par­i­son would prob­a­bly be Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed — the first time — with East­side be­ing Rocky and Grif­fin, the undis­puted cham­pion, be­ing Apollo.

Grif­fin has no short- age of Di­vi­sion I play­ers. With 6-5 Christian Owens at wide re­ceiver (com­mit­ted to UGA) and 6-2, 205-pound safety Jor­dan Col­bert (com­mit­ted to Auburn), the Bears are go­ing to cause prob­lems for East­side on both sides of the ball.

“Tough is an un­der­state­ment,” Rick Hurst, Ea­gles’ head coach, said.

“There are some things we feel like we can do. Ob­vi­ously, they’re a good foot­ball team. They’ve got Di­vi­sion l play­ers run­ning around ev­ery­where,” Hurst added. “Some­times when you see that it’s dif­fi­cult to try to find holes. It’s like I told our play­ers, ‘They’re high school play­ers just like we are. They’re gonna make mis­takes.’ Ob­vi­ously, their coach is try­ing to make them bet­ter just like we are ours.”

The Ea­gles are com­ing off a win that saw them drive 97 yards with less than four min­utes left against Bald­win and force over­time to come out vic­to­ri­ous, 28-21. Hurst said that the win was a big win for the pro­gram and that it was awe­some, but as soon it was over he moved on to Grif­fin.

“The kids un­der­stand, they watch film, they see them,” Hurst said. “I told them Mon­day, ‘If there’s any­body that’s afraid to get on the bus, fake an in­jury and stay at home. We don’t want you to go. I don’t want them go­ing if they’re afraid of go­ing down there and fac­ing a team like this then they’re not play­ing for the right rea­sons.”

“It’s like I told our kids to­day (Wed­nes­day), ‘Th­ese guys are gonna have film go­ing to ev­ery school in the coun-

I told them Mon­day, ‘If there’s any­body that’s afraid to get on the bus, fake an in­jury and stay at home. We don’t want you to go. I don’t want them go­ing if they’re afraid of go­ing down there and fac­ing a team like this then they’re not play­ing for the right rea­sons.

— Rick Hurst Ea­gles' head coach

try. What bet­ter way to get your name out there, if you wanna play at the next level, than to go have a good game against th­ese guys,’” Hurst said.

Hurst said that play­ing per­fect foot­ball, ex­e­cu­tion and the kick­ing game are his three keys to vic­tory against Grif­fin.

“We can’t make many mis­takes. We’ve got to ex­e­cute bet­ter than we have,” Hurst said. “I think we have to be able to slow them down on of­fense. We’ve got to find a way to limit their touches. Whether that’s slow­ing our tempo down or what­ever, we’ve got to find a way to try to keep them off the field as much as pos­si­ble.”

“We’ve got a lit­tle some­thing that we may be able to scrape a few points from that part of the game (spe­cial teams) and hope­fully that might be the dif­fer­ence.”

You can game­plan all you want, but there’s no ig­nor­ing the tal­ent that Grif­fin has, and Hurst knows that. Still, Hurst knows that their tal­ent doesn’t make them un­beat­able.

Hurst said, “Ev­ery year somebody ma­jor in high school foot­ball goes down. Why not (let it) be us? Why not us take them down?”

Can East­side do what New­ton did last year when it beat No. 4 Lown­des? We’ll find out Fri­day night.

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