Foot­ball fi­nale

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - EAST­SIDE, NEWTON FALL IN PLAY­OFFS, 1B

The East­side Ea­gles saw their sea­son come to an end af­ter a 2417 loss to Spald­ing Fri­day night in the first round of the GHSA Class AAAA play­offs.

In an in­tense con­test from start to fin­ish, the Ea­gles strug­gled in the first quar­ter with mis­cues, in­com­ple­tions and good de­fense from the Jaguars. Both de­fenses were stout in the first as the Jaguars ended the quar­ter with a 7-0 lead.

But it was to­ward the end of the first quar­ter when East­side started show­ing signs of life. Ea­gles se­niors’ Eric Stokes and Gar­rett Stevens closed out the first quar­ter with a pair of clutch tack­les that ended a Jaguars’ drive. Af­ter the Jaguars punted, the Ea­gles took over with great field po­si­tion at their own 40.

East­side se­nior quar­ter­back Austin Hol­loway’s first pass was in­com­plete. But on the next play, they give a read op­tion look, and Hol­loway took the ball on a quar­ter­back keeper and gained 15 yards for a first down. Af­ter a 14-yard run from Stokes, Hol­loway used his legs to scam­per into the end zone on a 10-yard run, mak­ing the score 7-7 with 8:43 left in the half.

The Jaguars tried to es­tab­lish the run on the en­su­ing drive, but line­backer Stevens was all over the field for the Ea­gles, mak­ing three straight open-field tack­les to help halt Spald­ing’s drive.

When East­side got the ball back, Hol­loway went to work again, this time through the air. Af­ter tak­ing the snap, he looked right and scram­bled left to find Allen wide open from blown cov­er­age. Allen caught the pass and sprinted to the end zone for a 55-yard touch­down. It gave the Ea­gles a 14-7 lead that they would even­tu­ally take into half­time.

The sec­ond half was much tighter than the first. Spald­ing started in its own ter­ri­tory and got a 25-yard run fol­lowed by a 40-yard quar­ter­back keeper by Nar­i­cus Driver. Af­ter po­si­tion­ing it­self deep into Ea­gles ter­ri­tory, the Spald­ing drive stalled as Stevens made a pair of big tack­les which forced the Jaguars to kick a field goal, cut­ting the East­side lead to 14-10 with 9:59 left in the third quar­ter.

East­side would promptly strike back, when Hol­loway con­nected with Harper again, who grabbed a short pass, broke a tackle by spin­ning away and ran 40 yards set­ting up the Ea­gles in the red zone. The Ea­gles came up short on third down, how­ever, and had to set­tle for a field goal mak­ing the score 17-10, East­side with 6:33 left in the

third quar­ter.

Sev­eral plays later, Driver threw a strike be­tween two de­fend­ers that con­nected for a 28-yard touch­down in the back of the end zone which stunned the Ea­gle’s faith­ful, ty­ing the game at 17 late in the third quar­ter.

Hol­loway made a rare mis­take on the next drive when he threw an in­ter­cep­tion that gave Spald­ing new life. And then, on the very first play of the fourth quar­ter, Driver, on a quar­ter­back keeper, read the de­fense while start­ing to run left and cut back to the right to find a crease in the de­fense. Once he did, he bolted for a 62 yard touch­down. The Jaguars took the lead for the first time since the quar­ter, 24-17 with 11:47 left in the game.

With eight sec­onds left, the Ea­gles had a last chance to tie the game but Hol­loway was forced to throw a pass off tar­get that was picked off, seal­ing the game.

The loss gave East­side a 7-3-1 sea­son fin­ish, while the Jaguars will go on next week to play the Ridge­land Pan­thers next Fri­day.

Make sure to check out our sea­son end­ing re-cap of East­side’s 2016 foot­ball sea­son Mon­day at www. cov­news.com.

An­thony Banks | The Cov­ing­ton News

East­side’s Eric Stokes runs Fri­day night against Spald­ing.

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