Rams have work to do

Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 1:53 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 1:53 p.m.

The Eastside High School football team is 2-0 in district play for the first time in four years after a 35-14 win last Friday over District 5-5A foe Dunnellon as the school celebrated its 2012 Homecoming.

The Rams won the game despite poor tackling on defense and losing four of seven fumbles on offense.

The Rams have this week off to clean up some things before they get ready to face the meat of their district schedule. They will travel to district foes Crystal River on Oct. 19 and North Marion on Oct. 26 before ending their district schedule Nov. 2 at Citizens Field against Santa Fe.

The last regular season game for the Rams, which will be Senior Night, is Nov. 9, also at Citizens Field, against Fleming Island.

The Rams are 3-3 overall and coach Jeff Parker said he is happy to be 2-0 in district play, but he knows his team has a lot of improving to do if they are going to win district and make a deep run in the state playoffs.

"If we play Crystal River, if we play North Marion like that (how they played against Dunnellon), we are going to lose," said Parker immediately after the Dunnellon game. "I'm happy we won, I'm just displeased with how we played."

After being blown out by city rival GHS 40-0 the week before, the Dunnellon Rattlers were just what the doctor ordered for a hungry Rams team seeking to rebound.

Led by senior quarterback Sir Jackson, the Rams tied the game at 7 in the first quarter when Jackson threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to senior running back Jamari Walker. The Rams then took advantage of a Dunnellon fumble. Jackson scrambled for 34 yards on a 4th-and-15 situation, and after two incomplete passes, he faked a pitch to junior Dantez Willis and kept the ball for an 11-yard touchdown, giving Eastside a 13-7 lead they would never relinquish.

The Rams extended their lead to 21-7 late in the second quarter when Jackson returned a punt 73 yards for a touchdown before passing to junior wide receiver Keandre McCray on the two-point conversion.

The Rattlers answered that with a 23-yard touchdown run by Craig Riche, who also had a 57-yard run down the right sideline on the drive. Riche finished the night with 212 rushing yards, most of which he gained in the first half. Part of the reason Riche had a big night is because the Rams defense was without several of its defensive leaders.

Eastside rounded out the scoring in the game with a second Jackson-to-Walker touchdown pass early in the third quarter and a one-yard touchdown run by Jackson in the fourth. Jackson, who rushed for 129 yards, had a part in all five touchdowns scored by Eastside.

Parker, who is in his second year as coach, said he is happy his team is getting a chance to experience winning, but he cautioned that there is still a lot of football to play.

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