Rams learn lessons in state playoff loss

Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 2:07 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 2:07 p.m.

The Eastside football team found out just how important paying attention to detail is in a horrible 52-0 loss Friday to Pasco County High School on the road in the Class 5A state playoff regional semi-final game.

The Rams, who won the District 5-5A championship this year, made a host of mistakes in the game against the Pirates, ranked No. 2 in Class 5A. The Rams threw six interceptions, one fumble and gave up four sacks in the game at W.F. Edwards Stadium in Dade City.

Despite the lopsided loss, Eastside’s second-year coach Jeff Parker said his team will be better as a result.

He said the players who will be returning next season now understand the dedication and commitment it will take for them to reach their goals to make the playoffs and play for a state championship.

“It was an opportunity last night to see a very well-coached, cohesive team that is working toward a goal, and play at a high level,” Parker said.

Parker said the Rams, which finished the year 6-6, are close to becoming a championship contender like Pasco County.

“We definitely have the pieces,” Parker said.

“I told the team at halftime that the difference between us and them is attention to details, and that is the thing — you have to pay attention to the little things and small details.”

Parker said it doesn’t matter how great an athlete is if they don’t do the things necessary to learn how to play their position like it is supposed to be played within the scheme the team is using. He said it is important for his players to learn to run precise routes in the passing game, properly pick up blitzing defensive players, understand gap responsibility on defense and other fundamentals of football that separate champions from other teams.

“For us to take the next step next year, we have to work on the details all this spring,” Parker said.

Parker said he has talked to a lot of his returning players who are excited about next season.

“They realize it is up to them now to carry the torch,” Parker said.

He said every great team has players with common goals and those goals can’t be accomplished if everybody is not working for the good of the team.

“The kids we have coming back are ready to play, and they all will be working toward the same goal and they are excited about it,” said Parker, adding that he was thankful for all of the Eastside fans who made the trip to Dade City in Pasco County to watch the Rams play.

“It’s a community effort and I appreciate all of the support we get from the community,” Parker said.

“A lot of people made that trip down to Pasco County.”

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