EAST JACKSON’S offense struggled to find a groove last week in the Eagles’ 38-6 loss at the hands of Jackson County.
The Eagles are 1-3 (0-1) as they head into their second Region 8-AAA contest of the season against a 1-2 Elbert County team.
Elbert County narrowly missed the playoffs last season, finishing fifth out of the eight teams in the region. Eagle head coach Gary Hughes pointed out that the Blue Devils will likely try to keep East Jackson guessing by showing multiple looks on offense.
“There is some spread stuff, some wing-t stuff and pro, two-back stuff that they run,” said Hughes. “I think they just try and tailor what they do offensively to the kids that they have.”
This season, Elbert County added a new offensive coordinator, who pushed the Blue Devils away from their traditional wing-t formation. After losing their leading rusher to graduation, Elbert County head coach Sid Fritts opted for an offense that melded better with sophomore quarterback Mecole Hardman.
“The spread offense caters to Mecole’s skill set,” said Fritts.
The Eagle defense is no stranger to the spread offense after facing Jackson County and East Hall. East Jackson’s offense is in some ways similar to Elbert County’s in terms of personnel swapping and multiple formations.
The Eagle defense may be able to contain a speedy Blue Devil backfield, but East Jackson will have to make plays on offense to secure its first region win. The Eagles will rely on leading rushers DeAngelo Moore and Austin Beauchamp to move the ball downfield.
While 1-3 isn’t where any team aims to be at his point in the season, the Eagles have shown vast improvements on offense and defense from the 2012 season.
Hughes emphasized that rebuilding a program is a process and that East Jackson is making progress in becoming a better football program.
“We are going to continue trying to get better every week,” Hughes said. “I know that will fluctuate some depending on whom we play. The biggest thing for us is that we keep a good attitude and continue to work hard and get better. That’s our measuring stick. We are going to keep working and try to eliminate the things that we aren’t doing well and duplicate the things that we are doing well.”
East Jackson kicks off its contest with Elbert County at 7:30 p.m. at Eagle Stadium.