GABRIEL AND EASTSIDE
1. The Eagles’ running game could devastate Region 4-AAAA. I hope nobody took that shellacking to Newton seriously last week in terms of how you evaluate Eastside’s football team. Again, Newton is a Class AAAAAAA school that is “that good.” But Eastside’s talent is more than ample for Class AAAA ball, particularly its running game. Taylor Carter and Tyon Davis are the real deal. The duo took turns slashing through Alcovy’s front seven making pivotal play after pivotal play to keep drives alive. It’s going to be tough for any Class AAAA to slow them down.
2. Brayden Harper is a warrior. Whether at receiver or quarterback — I even heard that coach Troy Hoff experimented with him at kicker — the kid can play. He’s hard nosed. He doesn’t go down easily. He’s just a flat out competitor who’s doing whatever it takes to keep this somewhat inexperienced Eastside team competing. Hopefully he can avoid the injury bug for region play. He’s going to be fun to watch.
3. I was wrong about the county’s strongest leg. I think it was last week when, after Alcovy’s Jose Ramos booted a 40-yard field goal with enough leg for about five or six more yards, I said that he, without question, was the top kicker in the county. Then Eastside’s Kade Mote blasted a 50-yarder Friday night against Alcovy. Hey, I can admit that I’m wrong. But it’s cool that the county has at least two kickers with huge legs. Maybe we can get Ramos and Mote together for a kicking contest before the year is done.
4. You can’t sleep on Spurgeon. Spurgeon Gaither, that is. The senior defensive tackle doesn’t get the hype or headlines that Lamarius Benson (deservedly) gets. But Gaither can be just as disruptive to an opponent’s offensive backfield. Hoff said he had to twist his arm to get a highlight video done. Once coaches see it, though, Spurgeon (and his parents) will no doubt be glad that he did it.
5. We still don’t know the ceiling of this football team. Each week I see a little something different from this bunch that I didn’t see the week before — yes, even last week against Newton. In preseason, Hoff acknowledged his team’s “greenness,” due to the departure of 25 seniors in 2016. But he also said that the goal was to get this young squad ready to compete by region time. I still think Eastside is one of the better teams in Class AAAA and I still think they can and will make a playoff push this season. I believe the best for this bunch is yet ahead.