Rams run by Rattlers
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 5, 2012 at 12:21 a.m.
For a coach that just had won a football game, Eastside's Jeff Parker certainly didn't look too happy Thursday night at Citizens Field.
Yes, his Rams beat Belleview 35-14 to stay unbeaten in District 5-5A, and to the delight of Eastside's homecoming crowd. And quarterback Sir Jackson did put on a show with 129 yards rushing and five touchdowns (two rushing, two passing and one punt return).
But the seven fumbles, four lost, and the missed tackles left a sour taste for Parker. Because he knows what is coming.
“If we play Crystal River, if we play North Marion like that, we are going to lose,” said the second-year coach. “I'm happy we won, I'm just displeased with how we played.”
The victory evened Eastside's overall record to 3-3, but more importantly made it 2-0 in the district. Idle next week, the Rams have two big district road games ahead of them — at Crystal River on Oct. 19 and at North Marion on Oct. 26.
“It feels great. We are 2-0,” Parker said. “Our goal is to do something in the district. We've got to clean up what we are doing. We didn't take care of the ball, we didn't execute the way we need to execute. We are going back to fundamentals next week.”
Jackson had 120 of his rushing yards in the first half, and connected with Jamari Walker on a 9-yard touchdown, the first of two TD connections between the two, to tie the game at 7-7 midway through the first quarter.
The Rams took advantage of a Belleview fumble at the Rattlers' 40 as Jackson turned a 4th-and-15 situation into a 34-yard scramble, putting Eastside at the Belleview 11. Three plays later, after two incompletions, Jackson faked a pitch to Danzy Willis and kept it for an 11-yard TD, putting Eastside ahead to stay, 13-7.
Jackson struck again late in the second quarter, taking a booming 47-yard punt by Tate Ehrhart and returning it 73 yards for a TD. A two-point pass to Keandre McCray gave Eastside a 21-7 lead.
Belleview, behind a 212-yard rushing night by junior Craig Riche, answered back. Riche broke a 57-yard run down the left sideline, then followed that with a 23-yard TD run, closing the Rams' lead to 21-14 at the half.
But that would be as close of the Rattlers would get.
The Rams contained Riche better in the second half, and held Belleview to just 52 yards. Meanwhile, Jackson connected with Walker on another TD early in the third, and scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth to put the game away.
Willis finished with 73 yards and Walker had a team-high four receptions.
“Sir played a heck of a game,” Parker said. “It seems like these next three district games (hosts Santa Fe on Nov. 2) are going to tell the whole story. North Marion hasn't lost a district championship in (nine) years.”