By Ruthie Robison The Webster Progress-Times
The Eupora Eagles are one game away from a trip to Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson. The Eagles advanced to the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 2A North Half championship game after defeating the Calhoun City Wildcats, 35-13.
The game was a rematch between the two teams from earlier in the season during non-division play, which Eupora remembered well. On Sept. 14, the Wildcats defeated the Eagles 27-6 on their home field.
The Eagles entered Calhoun City’s “Boneyard” looking to extend their winning season, but also to avenge the only blemish on their record.
The Wildcats struck first early in the game, and grabbed a 7-0 lead over Eupora. Calhoun City quarterback Chakel Gates completed the first Wildcat possession of the game with a one-yard run.
The Eagles answered back quickly to set the tone for the rest of the game. Sophomore quarterback Trey Pittman connected with senior wide receiver and Ole Miss commit Derrick Jones on a 56-yard touchdown pass. Justin Lewis added the extra point for the tie.
After capitalizing on a bad Wildcat snap, the Eagles found themselves deep in Calhoun City territory. The Pittman and Jones duo scored again for Eupora with a 28-yard pass in the second quarter. Lewis followed with the extra point doubling the Eagle lead, 14-7.
The solid Eupora defense forced Calhoun City to punt on their next possession giving the Eagles a chance to increase their lead before halftime. The Eupora backs led a 55-yard ground attack capped with a one-yard plunge into the end zone by senior running back Vandy Smith. Lewis’ kick split the uprights.
Eupora had gained a 21-7 lead before entering halftime.
The Eagles began moving the ball down the field with their first possession of the second half which lasted the entire third quarter. The Eupora drive was finished with a remarkable 21-yard reception from Pittman to Jones, their third touchdown of the game.
Calhoun City finally received their first possession of the second half in the fourth quarter, but it was short-lived.
Jones pounced on a turnover opportunity picking off a Gates pass. A few plays later senior tight end Savon Daughtery entered the end zone from two-yards out.
The Wildcats scored one final time during the 2012 season late in the fourth quarter after Gates found Brieton Sykes with a nine-yard pass.
Lewis proved how dependable his leg is for the Eagles going 5-for-5 for PATs in a high stakes game. Pittman was 10-12 through the air for 172 yards with three touchdowns.
Jones had three receptions for 104 yards with three touchdowns.
Senior running back Lazerick Davis led the rushing attack with 14 carries for 91 yards.
Eupora holds a 13-1 overall record.
The Eagles have been working hard to improve each game this year, and hope to see their dedication payoff this Friday night on Wofford Field.
Eupora will line up opposite of the Bruce Trojans this Friday taking on their toughest opponent yet. The Trojans, residing in Region 1, took their district title this season and will enter the North Half matchup with an 11-3 overall record.
Last week, Bruce defeated the defending Class 2A state champion West Bolivar Eagles, 14-12. The Trojan defense held standout running back Kailo Moore to 112 rushing yards. Moore had accumulated 278 rushing yards in West Bolivar’s previous playoff matchup with the Ackerman Indians. This is the first time this season the two teams will square off.
The winner of this game will face the Class 2A South Half champion either Bassfield (14-0) or East Marion (10-3). Bassfield and East Marion are both Region 8 opponents and have faced each other earlier this season. Bassfield shutout East Marion 42-0, and is anticipating a repeat.
Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. at Wofford Field.