Eastside hosts Anclote to open postseason play

Eastside senior quarterback Sir Jackson leads the Rams into their first playoff game since the 2008 season.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 12:48 a.m.

The Eastside Rams are back in the state high school football playoffs for the first time since 2008, despite losing their last two games of the regular season.


Class 5A, Region 2 quarterfinal

Who: Anclote vs. Eastside
When: Today at 7 p.m., Citizens Field
Up next: If Eastside wins, it would host North Marion or travel to Dade City Pasco County in the regional semifinals Nov. 23; if Anclote wins, it would travel to either school.
Picks: LS: Eastside; CO: Anclote; PK: Eastside; LB: Eastside
Staff: Larry Savage, Cliff Olsen, Paul Kardasz, Laura Bernheim

The Rams (5-5), District 5-5A champions, experienced the highest of highs with their upset win at North Marion (42-41 in OT) to clinch the league title in late October, but endured the lowest of lows the following week with a 19-14 upset home loss to previously winless Santa Fe.

But tonight is a new season, the postseason, and the Rams face Holiday Anclote (6-4) in a Region 2 quarterfinal at 7 at Citizens Field.

The Sharks, whose school opened in 2009 in Pasco County, have won six straight since opening the season 0-4.

“I feel good,” Eastside second-year coach Jeff Parker said. “The kids have worked hard all year and have shown their resolve in the big games.They came out and played the kind of game we have been looking for all season at North Marion. Then the next week we had issues with the officials and mentally we lost focus on what we were supposed to do. Santa Fe came out ready to play and just beat us.”

The Rams are led by standout senior quarterback Sir Jackson, who had perhaps the game of his career in the district-clinching win at North Marion, denying the Colts their 10th straight district title. In that game, Jackson accounted for 330 yards of offense (206 passing, 124 rushing) and threw four touchdowns. He also blocked North Marion's 23-yard game-winning field goal attempt with 2.5 seconds left in regulation.

Anclote, in its first football playoff in school history, won runner-up in District 6-5A by shutting out Zephyrhills (16-0) and Fivay (7-0) in a three-way playoff. The Sharks have an outstanding runner in junior Willie Barrett (1,405 yards, 14 TDs).

“Sir is excited, all of the seniors are excited,” Parker said. “They won the district and made the playoffs. They weren't even in high school the last time Eastside was in the playoffs. They are excited about this opportunity.”

Contact Larry Savage at 352-374-5050 or larry.savage@gvillesun.com. And follow at Twitter.com/sunpreps

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