It's Homecoming for Rams

Rams tight end Seth Brown catches a pass against the Gainesville Hurricanes last Friday at Citizens Field in Gainesville. Gainesville defeated Eastside 40-0.

MATT STAMEY/Sspecial to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 1:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 1:56 p.m.

Traditionally a close game most of the time, this year's rivalry football game between Eastside and Gainesville High School was anything but close.



What: Eastside High School Homecoming game against Belleview High School.
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Where: Citizens Field.
Cost: $7.
Information: Call 352-955-6704.

The Purple Hurricanes poured it on the Rams early and often in a 40-0 route, demonstrating to everyone at a packed Citizens Field Friday night that they are well deserving of their No. 1 ranking in Class 6A.

The Rams (2-3 and 1-0 in District 5-5A) will try to bounce back from the loss to GHS (5-0) when they face Belleview (1-3, 0-1) for homecoming at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Citizens Field.

The Rams will have a chance to improve to 2-0 in district play and to reach three wins at this point of the season for the first time in several years.

Eastside coach Jeff Parker said he knew his team had to play mistake-free football to have a chance to beat GHS and although the loss was disappointing, his team has to regroup and get ready for the heart of its district schedule. Parker also said he told his team their goals are still attainable.

"I told them this is a work in progress and the thing about is that we are 1-0 in our district and our goal for the whole year is to be district champions and to make the playoffs," Parker said. "We are going to have to regroup and I told our guys that this is the No. 1 6A team in the state and that we were not going to beat them if we made mistakes and we made mistakes tonight."

The Purple Hurricanes stifled the Eastside offense, which was led by senior quarterback Sir Jackson, who returned to action after being injured in the game early in the season against Ocala Trinity Catholic.

The Rams can usually rely on their defense to keep games close, but the normally tough Eastside defense had few answers for the numerous playmakers on the GHS offense.

Quarterback Mark Cato accounted for four touchdowns, two passing and two rushing. Running back Ralph Webb rushed for 126 yards on 15 carries, including a 50-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and Tony James, a University of Florida commit, rushed for 109 yards on 10 carries, including a five-yard touchdown run to conclude the scoring in the game late in the fourth quarter.

The Purple Hurricanes scored their first touchdown on their second play of the game from scrimmage when Cato hit a wide open Larry Prunty running right past an Eastside cornerback for a 50-yard touchdown reception. They scored another touchdown in the quarter and led 20-0 at half time.

Parker said the lesson from the loss is a simple one.

"We've got to play better football from here on out," Parker said. "We can't make mistakes and expect to beat anybody."

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