IT’S been a long season for East Jackson, but two Eagles provided highlight-reel worthy performances in the team’s ninth loss of the year.
Wide out Casey Reed hauled in a school-record 227 yards receiving Friday while quarterback Austin Beauchamp threw for a school-record 301 yards and ran for 90 in East Jackson’s 41-21 setback at Franklin County.
Reed’s 227-yard night included 11 receptions and one touchdown.
East Jackson's Casey Reed set a new school record with 227 yards receiving against Franklin County.
“Two-hundred, twenty-seven yards in a high school football game is pretty doggone amazing,” East Jackson coach Brian Smith said.
This is Reed’s first year of football and the junior has made an impact, leading the team with 524 yards receiving and five touchdowns.
“Casey has worked hard and developed and has had to do a lot of things for a kid that didn’t play last year,” Smith said. “We’re thankful to have him. He’s a big target that runs well. We need to continue to try to find ways to get him the ball.”
Franklin County was “giving Casey the fade” in the first half, Smith said, so the Eagles went to him early.
Reed drew double coverage in the second half but still managed to get open.
“So he’s learning the game,” Smith said. “He’s making himself better.”
Beauchamp had his biggest statistical night since the season opener, completing 14-of-29 passes for a career-high 301 yards.
East Jackson's Austin Beauchamp threw for a school-record 301 yards Friday against Franklin County.
He threw touchdown passes to Reed and Patrick Chastain, who filled in for an ill Austin Lumpkin.
Beauchamp added 90 more yards on the ground and a touchdown to finish with 391 total yards. The junior quarterback had a similar night Aug. 31 against Banks County when he totaled 396 yards and accounted for four touchdowns.
“That’s a big night,” Smith said. “I don’t care what league you’re playing in and who you’re playing for or against. It’s hard to do that.”
Beauchamp was able to spread the ball around on the evening, involving several receivers in the offense.
“We haven’t been able to spread the ball around as much as we did early (in the season),” Smith said.
And that’s a positive the coach is taking from the loss.
“We felt like we showed that hard work paid off a little bit — not that it was great, not that it was perfect, but it was a situation where some things that we had been working on and continuing to work on clicked,” Smith said.
Moving the ball wasn’t a problem Friday. Hanging on to it was.
The Eagles turned the ball over five times, with four of those coming via interception. East Jackson also had one fumble.
The team had two turnovers in the red zone and a missed field goal, which added to the frustration.
“We really feel like we kind of gave a little bit away there and put ourselves in a bad situation,” Smith said. “But our kids fought hard. I was proud of the way they played. I thought we did some positive things.”
Defensively, East Jackson had problems with missed tackles.
“We turned the ball over in the red zone a few of times an tackled poorly,” Smith said. “That’s how the game sums up.”
Still, Smith said he was proud of how his team responded after lopsided losses to Jackson County, Hart County and North Oconee.
“You kind of worry that your team after playing Jackson, Hart, North Oconee, one of the fears is how are they going to respond?” Smith said. “I thought we came out and played hard.”