Published and broadcast on April 7, 2023
“Slept on Eastside” follows the journey of Eastside High School alumni Harold “Gator” Hoskins as he returns to his alma mater to revitalize the football team. The Rams had a record of 5-25 over the last three seasons, but the former football standout took on the challenge to change the culture and reunite his community. The program that was once slept on is starting to make some noise.
Here’s an inside look at the success and heartbreak of Hoskins’ first year as head coach.
Snapshots: Eastside’s 2022 season
Photography by Trey Johnson/WUFT News
Pictured left to right, Eastside captains Trevaun Sams, Holden Johnson, Kevin Mitchell and Jeremiah Williams hold the jersey of their fallen teammate and honorary captain Dabien “DaeDae” White before walking out for the coin toss. Assistant coach Bobby Solomon honors DaeDae by tying his commemorative ribbon to his visor. Drum major Deshawn Johnson prepares to lead the band onto the field before the Oct. 7 game against Ridgeview. Linebackers coach Yohance Clark wore this custom hat honoring DaeDae during every game after his death. Junior center Jaquez Whitehead remembers DaeDae by customizing his backplate. Junior wide receiver Antonio Hubbert throws some pregame passes against Newberry. Wide receivers coach Rodney Mills (left) and offensive line coach Roderick Johnson lead warmups at Belleview High School. Eastside prays after a close win on the road against Belleview. Senior right tackle Trevaun Sams hypes himself up in the locker room. Kevin Mitchell poses with his family while holding a shirt to honor DaeDae on senior night. He’s with his mother Jennifer Johnson, sister Justina Johnson and girlfriend Kenniya Wilkes (right). The Rams pose for a team picture after claiming their first district championship in 12 years with a 28-7 win over Santa Fe on senior night. The offensive line poses with DaeDae’s jersey after winning the district championship. Top row: Trevaun Sams, Kevin Mitchell, Roderick Johnson, Jaquez Whitehead, Ae’nali Brown and David Bradford. Bottom row: Stefon Lockhart, Richard Williams, Jordan Welch, Xzavion Henderson and Deavion McBride. Quarterback Holden Johnson poses with his family after a big win on senior night. Defensive coordinator Donald Buie and coach Hoskins talk game plan at practice. Sophomore Jaqwon Lewis relaxes with shades on in the locker room before the game against Gainesville High School. Holden Johnson awaits the game against Gainesville High with his cousin Caedon Sutherland. Hoskins does a halftime interview with Friday Night Rivals during the GHS game. Holden Johnson and assistant coaches Nicholas Pessas (left) and Yohance Clark pose with the Friday Night Rivals trophy after defeating GHS 36-0. Kevin Mitchell (from left), Jemall Dix, Jaquez Whitehead and Ae’nali Brown salute their school and DaeDae after a historic win – Eastside’s first against Gainesville High in 13 years. Senior running back Micah Hudson sits during halftime against North Marion in the first round of the playoffs. Assistant coaches and Eastside alums Tim Shankle (2006) and Cordera Ferguson (2004) wear their varsity jackets pregame, on the road against Bradford in the second round of the playoffs.