Eastside football preview

eastsidehelmet2012Eastside (Gainesville) Rams (Class 5A-District 5)

2013 Record:  5-5

Head Coach:  Jeff Parker

Key Players:  Malachi Lofland (ATH, Sr.), Tay-Tay Simmons (ATH, Sr.), Kieandre McCray (WR, Sr.), Greg Turnage (DL, Sr.), Landon Rogers (QB, Sr.), Ben Houston (DL, Jr.), Joseph Malu (K, Sr.), Torrey Richardson (WR, So.), Marquell Alexander (DB, So.), Hal Davis (ATH, So.), Dion Webb (DL, So.)

Outlook:  Despite a 0-3 start to the 2013 season, the Rams rebounded and narrowly missed the postseason, falling to Santa Fe on the road in the district finale to finish a game out of second.

A total of seven starters return on offense, including Lofland and Simmons. Last year, Lofland completed 65-of-90 passes for 684 yards and five TDs. He rushed for 887 yards on 73 carries and 12 TDs and caught 27 passes for 368 yards and four TDs. Simmons rushed for 1,016 yards on 85 carries and had 33 receptions for 280 yards and eight scores. Turnage played on the offensive line last year and had 84 pancake blocks and no sacks allowed. McCray is another one of their top returnees who can excel on both sides of the ball. The Rams also return six starters on the defensive side of the ball.

Area rivals Gainesville and Buchholz, along with perennial playoff team Ocala Trinity Catholic, give the Rams a challenging non-district schedule which should help them get ready to compete for a district title.

2014 Football Schedule
Friday, August 29 – vs. Buchholz (Gainesville), 7:30 p.m.
Friday, September 5 – at Gainesville, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, September 11 – vs. Trinity Catholic (Ocala), 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, September 18 – vs. Belleview, 7:30 p.m.*
Friday, September 26 – at North Marion (Citra), 7:30 p.m.*
Friday, October 3 – at Suwannee (Live Oak), 7:30 p.m.*
Friday, October 17 – at Crystal River, 7:30 p.m.*
Thursday, October 23 – vs. Dunnellon, 7:30 p.m.*
Friday, October 31 – vs. Santa Fe (Alachua), 7:30 p.m.*
Friday, November 7 – at Bradford (Starke), 7:30 p.m.

*District game

Eastside High School website

“The Prep Zone” will count down to kick-off with a daily preview of high school football teams in the North Central Florida area.  Here are the future release dates:

CLASS 5A-DISTRICT 5
July 14 – North Marion (Citra)
July 15 – Santa Fe (Alachua)
July 16 – Suwannee (Live Oak)

CLASS 5A-DISTRICT 6
July 17 – Central (Brooksville)
July 18 – Weeki Wachee
July 19 – Hernando (Brooksville)
July 20 – Nature Coast (Brooksville)
July 21 – South Sumter (Bushnell)

CLASS 6A-DISTRICT 3
July 22 – Columbia (Lake City)

CLASS 6A-DISTRICT 5
July 23 – Citrus (Inverness)
July 24 – Gainesville
July 25 – Lake Weir (Ocala)
July 26 – Vanguard (Ocala)
July 27 – Forest (Ocala)

CLASS 6A-DISTRICT 6
July 28 – Springstead (Spring Hill)

CLASS 7A-DISTRICT 3
July 29 – Buchholz (Gainesville)

CLASS 8A-DISTRICT 1
July 30 – West Port (Ocala)