By Ruthie Robison The Webster Progress-Times
The Eupora Eagles hit the road last Friday night to face the French Camp Panthers in a season opening matchup.
The Eagles were determined not to let history repeat itself. Last season, French Camp was able to take advantage of a few Eagle errors and managed a 20-12 win over Eupora.
The opening play of the game proved the Eagles wanted to jump-start their season with a win. Senior Derrick Jones returned a kickoff 95 yards for Eupora’s first touchdown of the night. Justin Lewis provided the extra point giving the Eagles a 7-0 lead over French Camp. This would be the only scoring play from both teams in the first quarter.
The Panthers answered back in the second quarter when French Camp’s Jaylon Clemens recovered an Eagle fumble and took it to the end zone for a Panther touchdown. After the extra point, the Panthers evened the score, 7-7.
Later in the second quarter, the Panthers scored again on a successful field goal attempt taking the lead for the first time in the game, 10-7. After halftime, the Eupora Eagles stepped up their game a notch on both sides of the ball.
The winning combination for the Eagles during the second half of the game was quarterback Trey Pittman and wide receiver Jones.
In the third quarter, Pittman connected with Jones on a 44-yard toss. The Eagles were back on top, 13-10.
Then in the fourth quarter, Eupora sealed the deal with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Pittman to Jones. Lewis added the extra point. Eupora earned their first win of the season, 20-10.
“I thought we were solid throughout the game,” Eagle head coach Junior Graham said. “Offensively we have to polish some things up and there were several missed assignments on defense but all in all it was a good first game.”
On the offensive side of the ball, Jones led receiving eight tosses on 142 yards with two touchdowns. Pittman was 12-20 through the air on 175 yards with two touchdowns.
The Eagle defense was led by senior Vandy Smith with 7 stops and 1 sack for the night, while Savon Daughtery and Markelle Elchelberger had 6 stops each. Patrick Marshall had 4 stops.
This week Eupora’s home opening game of the season will be against the 1A state champion Noxapater Tigers.
“Noxapater is the defending 1A state champions and most of their players from last season are back,” Graham said.
Last season, the Eagles defeated the Tigers 41-21.
“We were fortunate to have come out with a win last year,” said Graham. “They have several skill guys of offense, run well on defense, and we’re going to have our hands full.”
The Tigers, 0-1, recently fell to Ackerman, 12-0.