Rams advance to regional semifinal


Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 12:34 p.m.

The Eastside Rams, with a stingy performance from its defense, advanced to a state playoff regional semifinal game for the first time since 2006 after beating Holiday Anclote in a Class 5A, Region 2 quarterfinal game.

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Eastside Rams defensive back Sir Jackson, left, breaks up a pass intended for Anclote Sharks receiver Tymere Carter during the Class 5A, Region 2 quarterfinal at Citizens Field. Eastside defeated Anclote 37-0.

MATT STAMEY/Special to the Guardian

As a result of the 37-0 thrashing of Anclote last Thursday at Citizens Field, the Rams will travel to play Pasco County High School at 7:30 p.m. Friday at W.F. Edwards Stadium in Dade City.

Pasco, District 6-5A champion, defeated North Marion 34-10 last Friday in Dade City. Pasco (11-0) is led by defensive lineman Joey Ivie, who has verbally committed to the University of Florida. Ivie had 4 sacks and forced a fumble against North Marion. The Pirates are led on offense by Janarion Grant and David Emmanuel, a Division 1-A recruit who rushed for 135 yards against North Marion.

The Rams (6-5) played their best game of the season on defense against Anclote, something that was very pleasing to Eastside coach Jeff Parker, who led his team to the District 5-5A championship in his second year at the helm of the program.

"Our defense came and balled out," Parker said. "They haven't played like that all season, and this is the first shutout we've had all year. I am really proud of them. They came and played tonight."

The defense was led by a host of players, including junior defensive back D'Quan Davis with two interceptions, senior defensive back/quarterback Sir Jackson with two interception, returning one for a 30-yard touchdown, senior linebackers Tim Norman and Sean Scott and a host of other players who held Anclote scoreless.

Jackson also had another stellar game, having a hand in four of the five touchdowns scored by the Rams.

"I keep telling you all, Sir is the most exciting athlete in North Central Florida," Parker said. "Tonight, he came out and ran the offense and played huge on defense. Sir does a great job, but he also helps his teammates and makes them better as well."

Parker said his team is peaking at the right time and has a lot of confidence.

"The kids did a heck of a job," Parker said. "They bought into what we are trying to prepare them to do. Coming out strong was huge. When our kids get the momentum, we've got the athletes to play with a lot of people."

Both teams turned the ball over numerous times, and during one stretch in the game, Davis got his first interception before the Sharks recovered a fumble by Jackson, who then intercepted a pass on defense by stepping in front of a slant route for his first interception. Eastside junior defensive end Barry Johnson then recovered a fumble on Anclote's next drive.

Parker said seeing his players enjoy success is a big deal to him.

"All year, we've been in tough games and I've been on them all year about them persevering to the end all the time," Parker said. "We've worked on peaking at this time of the season and the kids did a heck of a job playing this first round game. Anclote has a good football team."

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