Time to Kick­off

De­fense, run game im­pres­sive for East­side in scrim­mage

The Covington News - - SPORTS & LIVING - TYLER WIL­LIAMS twilliams@cov­news.com

The East­side Ea­gles were look­ing to kick off their sea­son with a po­ten­tially mo­men­tum-boost­ing scrim­mage game against Wal­nut Grove in which the var­sity teams tied 7-7 in their one half of play.

And although Ea­gles fans only got a small sam­ple size of the 2017 squad, East­side coach Troy Hoff said he was pleased with what he saw.

“Our guys came out and played with a lot of en­ergy,” Hoff said. “We still have some things to clean up with ex­e­cu­tion, but I love how we’re fly­ing around.”

The en­tire half was dom­i­nated by both de­fenses, start­ing with short drives from both teams be­fore Wal­nut Grove be­gan mov­ing the ball with some reg­u­lar­ity. How­ever, they were stopped by one of the many East­side quar­ter­back sacks from a swarm­ing de­fense that would pre­vent the War­riors from scor­ing a sin­gle of­fen­sive touch­down.

Fly­ing around is ex­actly what the de­fense did through­out the half as they con­sis­tently were get­ting four or five guys to the ball each play, while also dis­rupt­ing Wal­nut Grove’s pass­ing game.

As for the of­fense, East­side would be­gin find­ing its groove on the ground while uti­liz­ing a po­tent 1-2 punch from the dy­namic tail­back duo of Tyon Davis and Tay­lor Carter.

“We’re look­ing for a lot of pro­duc­tion out of the run­ning back po­si­tion,” Hoff said. “There’s young guys push­ing them as well, and that’s what it takes. They com­ple­ment each other well, and col­lec­tively, we are get­ting a lot of pro­duc­tion out of that group.”

When it seemed like the Ea­gles would strike first blood, quar­ter­back Bray­den Harper threw a pass that was snatched away from his re­ceiver by Wal­nut Grove’s Donique Wil­son, who would re­turn it 95 yards to put the War­riors ahead 7-0.

How­ever, this would not shake Harper who drove right back down the field com­plet­ing two huge passes be­fore cap­ping the drive off with a 12-yard touch­down strike to Ja­mari Brown to tie the game. The bounce-back for Harper was one that Hoff ex­pected from his of­fen­sive leader.

“He’s that type of kid,” Hoff said. “He knew the read, and he knew what he was look­ing at, but things hap­pen, and he moved on. He is some­one who isn’t go­ing to carry it with him in the next se­ries. That’s what it takes at that po­si­tion, a short mem­ory. You just go on to the next one.”

The rest of the half saw the de­fen­sive bat­tle con­tinue, with Wal­nut Grove forc­ing back to back turnovers on East­side. But the Ea­gles’ de­fense showed re­silience by not al­low­ing any big plays be­fore the clock ex­pired on the first half, send­ing the var­sity play­ers to the bench and the JV out in the sec­ond half with a 0-0 score re­set.

Over­all, Hoff noted one key as­pect of play the team needs to fo­cus on to pre­pare for their reg­u­lar sea­son opener Sat­ur­day at 7:30 p.m. against Luella.

“We need to work on ex­e­cu­tion across the board,” he said. “I like the ef­fort and I like how we are play­ing hard, but it takes more than that. Early in the sea­son, when we are a young team with not a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence, we hope to see a lot of growth on the first week to the sec­ond.”

An­thony Banks | The Cov­ing­ton News

East­side ju­nior run­ning back Tay­lor Carter finds run­ning room against Wal­nut Grove in Fri­day’s scrim­mage.

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