Eastside plans to ‘be ready to go’
Team meets Buchholz Friday and Gainesville High on Sept. 6
Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 3:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 3:24 p.m.
The Eastside High School football team will begin the 2013 regular season with its first two games against city rivals Buchholz High School and Gainesville High School for the first time in recent history, if ever.
* What: The Eastside High School Rams against the Buchholz High School Bobcats.
* When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
* Where: Citizens Field, 1100 NE 14th St.
* Cost: $7.
* Information: Call 352-955-6704.
However, if the Rams have any hopes of emerging victorious in either of those games, they must eliminate turning the ball over like they did last Friday in a 33-14 loss on the road to Palatka in the preseason game.
The Rams open the regular season at 7:30 p.m. Friday against Buchholz at Citizens Field, then face GHS at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 6, also at Citizens Field.
Eastside coach Jeff Parker said the Rams schedule is set up that way because the Florida High School Athletic Association added the Suwannee High School Bulldogs to District 5-5A this year, giving the Rams and all of the other teams in the district an extra district game.
The other teams in the district are Crystal River, Dunnellon, North Marion and Santa Fe high schools. Parker said they were faced with either playing GHS in the second week of the season or the last week of the season.
"We chose to play in week two to get it going," said Parker after the game in Palatka.
The Rams were district champions last year and made it to the second round of the state playoffs before losing on the road to Pasco County High School.
Heading into the regular season, the Rams will need to take care of some things, especially turnovers, which caused them to lose to Palatka. The Rams offense began the game with a fumble by senior tight end Seth Brown as the team was moving the ball down the field at ease. The Rams defense then went out and kept Palatka from gaining a first down, forcing the Panthers to punt on its first possession.
The Rams offense showed signs of explosiveness when it held on to the ball and blocked. Two of the highlights by the offense during the game were a 15-yard touchdown catch by junior wide receiver Keandre McCray from Landon Rogers in the second quarter and a touchdown run by senior running back Dantez Willis in the fourth quarter.
Despite giving up 33 points, the defense played a solid game, considering the numerous turnovers by the offense. All in all, Parker said his team will be ready when the regular season kicks off Friday night.
"We were on the goal line at least four times and didn't score," Parker said. "We have to clean up a lot of assignments and stuff. We dropped balls and had a fumble early in the game when we were driving. We didn't convert on some plays and we didn't block on some plays. This is what you want from a preseason game. You want your guys to work hard and to gain an understanding of what their responsibilities are. We are going to clean things up and be ready to go."