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Gainesville running back Niles Cromwell carries the ball past a swarm of Eastside defenders. Photo credit to Roy Street.

Regular Season Finale And Rivalry Matchup: Gainesville vs Eastside

High school regular season football is wrapping up this weekend. The Gainesville High School Hurricanes and the Eastside Rams will end their regular season with a big crosstown rivalry matchup Thursday night at Citizens Field.

Eastside Rams

The Rams are coming off a big second half win last week over Santa Fe High School. Eastside went into halftime down 7-6 and ended up forcing turnovers and making plays to pull off a 32-14 win. Head Coach Ced Daniels said he was proud of the way his team bounced back.

The Rams are 7-2 this season and they’ve consistently put up high scores. Six of their seven wins had final scores over 41 and most notably, their 64-0 blowout win against Central High School. Part of the reason for Eastside’s big wins could be starting quarterback, Anthony Richardson. He has 2,234 total yards this season and he’s thrown 15 touchdowns so far. Richardson is a Junior and the three-star recruit has already verbally committed to The University of Florida for the 2020 season.

Another note about Eastside are their turnovers. Daniels said one of the teams’ goals this season is to break the school’s turnover record. The Rams are already approaching 30 this season. Although this is a big rivalry matchup and their last regular season game, the Rams will get the chance to just relax and play the game. With the new point system for high school playoffs, whether Eastside wins or loses, they already have enough points to qualify them to a playoff game. Daniels says the pressure is now off his team.

Gainesville Hurricanes

On the other side of the field, Gainesville is sitting at a 6-3 record this season. They had two losses back to back not too long ago against Buchholz and Vanguard, but the Hurricanes did bounce back and get two huge wins. A 70-6 win at home against Leesburg and a 63-17 win at South Lake. In the 2017 season, Gainesville came out on top against Eastside, 35-14. If they want to do that again, head coach Patrick Miller said his team needs to follow its game plan.

This game is senior night for Gainesville and it looks like it could be a quarterback battle.

Senior quarterback, Luke Matthews has similar stats to Eastside’s Richardson. Matthews has 2,288 passing yards this season and has 17 touchdowns- just two more than Richardson. The main difference between the two is, Matthews has nine interceptions on the season and Richardson only has three. With Eastside’s ability to force turnovers, the Hurricanes are going to have to protect their ball well.

Game Info

It really could go either way for this big city rivalry game. Since the schools are just down the road from each other, both coaches of course also know each other.

“He knows me and I know him,” said Daniels. “It’s going to be the last man with the marker-hopefully.”

Kickoff for Thursday’s game is set for 7:30 p.m. at Citizens Field.

About Amanda Cheney

Junior studying telecommunications- news at the University of Florida. Multimedia Sports Reporter for ESPN Gainesville as well as a Multimedia Journalist for WUFT News.

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