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Eastside Wins Two in Trip to Arizona

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Eastside Wins Two in Trip to Arizona

Try time for Eastside vs Tempe.

The Eastside Lions wrapped up a quick two-game tour of Arizona with victories over both Red Mountain and Tempe. 

The Lions beat Red Mountain 29-0 Friday night, scoring four tries and posting a clean scoresheet.

On Saturday, Tempe was a tough nut to crack for a while but Eastside led 12-0 at halftime.

They scored two more tries while Tempe got over the line once to make it a 26-5 final score.

"Lots to work on," said new Head Coach Jeff Bonnett. "We're nowhere near our potential but lots of positives to set a tone going into the season."

Against Red Mountain, Eastside had ascendancy in the set piece early and that allowed them to be creative in open play. Their defense, tested time and again by a determined Red Mountain squad, proved formidable.

The scoring was opened by Eastside in just the 5th minute—a moment of brilliance on the field after the Lions scrum stole the put-in. Scrumhalf Noak Clark sniped past the Red Mountain defenders to race in from halfway. Lewis Chambers added the extras.

Eastside maintained control and possession but as they got into Red Mountain territory the hosts did well to force some turnovers. Finally, in the 26th minute, captain and prop Etu Lolohea powered over from the back of a lineout, capping off a good team effort.

Red Mountain started to put some phases together and worked nicely down to the Eastside line. However, the Lions held firm and the half ended with Eastside still up 12-0.

The second half saw Eastside continue to capitalize on their opportunities. A charged down kick inside the Red Mountain in-goal led to Aseri Kauwea extending the lead to 17-0 in an athletic play. Meanwhile Eastside's defensive pressure limited Red Mountain's chances. Well into the second half loose forward Notoa Tupu's thundering run, which saw him breaking tackles and, metaphorically, hearts, showcased the physical power of the Eastside team. That try made it 22-0.

Clark repeated his long-range snip from the first half, showcasing his acceleration. Kellen Eskridge converted and that wrapped it up 29-0.

Eastside showed their quality and their depth—a number of players expected to challenge for starting positions are still in their wrestling season. Red Mountain, despite the scoreline, displayed moments of brilliance and a fighting spirit.