By Ruthie Robison The Webster Progress-Times
The Eupora Eagles hosted the West Oktibbeha Timberwolves in a Thursday night matchup at Wofford Field.
Both teams entered the contest undefeated.
The Eagles faced an offensively explosive Timberwolf team, led by standout quarterback Von Smith and running back Tiberias Lampkin. In West Oktibbeha’s previous two victories over S.V. Marshall and Montgomery County they outscored their opponents 122-12 averaging 61 points a game.
On the first play of scrimmage, Lampkin shot 70 yards down the field. On the next play Smith connected with Kelsey Jefferson 5 yards for the touchdown. Donovan Henderson added the extra point and West Oktibbeha gained an early lead, 7-0.
The Eagles were eager to answer back.
On the ensuing kickoff, senior Lazerick Davis returned the ball to the Timberwolf 15 yard line. Two plays later quarterback Trey Pittman found senior wide receiver Derrick Jones in the end zone for the first Eupora touchdown during the game. Kicker Justin Lewis added the extra point, and a new game started barely two minutes into the first quarter, 7-7.
The Timberwolves regained the lead with 7:29 left in the first quarter, for the last time, after a successful 27-yard field goal attempt by Henderson.
With the Eagles in possession, Pittman connected with Jones through the air on 55 yards setting up another Eupora scoring opportunity. Running back Vandy Smith rumbled through Timberwolf defenders three yards out for the touchdown. After the point by Lewis, the Eagles possessed a 14-10 lead over West Oktibbeha.
The rest of the first quarter and entire second quarter remained silent. Both defenses played strong and physical to prevent any scoring opportunities. The Eupora defense knew the key to halt West Oktibbeha scoring capabilities would be upping their pass protection and close any gaps open for Lampkin.
After halftime, at the beginning of the third quarter, West Oktibbeha took a big loss when Lampkin went down with severe leg cramps. Lampkin did not return.
With 6:11 left in the third quarter, the Eagle offense struck again. Smith dashed in a 24-yard touchdown followed with the extra point by Lewis increasing Eupora’s momentum, 21-10.
West Oktibbeha tried to answer back. Inside the red zone, Smith tried to connect for a touchdown. Three incomplete pass attempts by Smith forced a turnover on downs.
Eupora capitalized on another opportunity to add points to their lead when Javoris Draine made a 6 yard run to the end zone. After the extra point by Lewis, Eupora was ahead 28-10.
Draine added two more two touchdowns in fourth quarter capping the Eagles win with the final score at 41-10.
Three minutes into the fourth quarter, Draine ran from one yard out for a Eupora touchdown.
And again with 2:05 left in the game, Draine sprinted 75 yards down the field to the end zone.
“We had them under 51 points of what they have been averaging so we’re excited about that. They have a good offensive team,” Eupora’s head coach Junior Graham said. “They tried to spread us from side line to side line, and they did a good job the first half but I thought our guys did a good job adjusting in the second half and tackling was much better.”
On the offensive side of the ball, Draine led with six carries on 124 yards with three touchdowns, while Smith had 11 carries on 55 yards with two touchdowns. Lamontae Salley had seven carries on 73 yards while Davis had five carries on 63 yards and Jones had one carry on 19 yards.
Jones and Davis led receiving. Jones caught two tosses on 72 yards with one touchdown, while Davis received one on 10 yards.
Pittman was 3-10 through the air on 82 yards with one touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, Markell Elchelberger led with six stops, while Salley had four. Tamoris Draine, Davis and Tarvis Robinson each had three stops during the game. Jalan Embry and Jamall Roby each collected one sack. “I was proud of our pass protection. We had one blown protection all night,” Graham said. “I thought our backs ran hard on the offensive side of the ball and I thought we tackled better.”
Eupora is undefeated with a 4-0 record.
“We got another win and we are excited about that,” said Graham.
This Friday the Eagles will welcome the Calhoun City Wildcats to Wofford Field in hopes of continuing their winning streak.
Graham said that the Eagles will be focusing on blocking and tackling for their upcoming game.
“They are going to be just the opposite of [West Oktibbeha]. They’re going to try to change the line of scrimmage and establish a run game,” Graham said.
The Wildcats recently defeated Velma Jackson 36-21 to secure a 2-2 record.
The West Oktibbeha Timberwolves (2-1) will host Nanih Waiya this Friday. Nanih Waiya (0-3) was recently defeated by Pelahatchie, 41-14.
Kickoffs will be at 7:30 p.m.