Eupora Eagles journey ends after great season

By Ruthie Robison The Webster Progress-Times

Although their third trip in school history to Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson did not go as hoped for, the Eupora Eagles can be proud of their remarkable 2012 high school football season.

“We had a really good year,” said head coach Junior Graham. “We had a special year, and our community has a lot to be proud of.”

The Eagles faced the Class 2A giant Bassfield Yellowjackets in the MHSAA State title game last Friday. The Yellowjackets quickly set the tone for the game, and claimed a 35-0 shutout victory over the Eagles.

“We run into a buzzsaw down here in a really talented team,” Graham said. “Speed kills and it killed (Friday). It was definitely a factor between the two teams.”

The Yellowjackets managed to hold Eupora at a season low of two first downs and a total of 46 offensive yards.

Before entering the matchup, the Eagles were averaging 295 offensive yards per game.

“You have to give Bassfield credit for a tremendous football team,” Graham said. “In 24 years coaching, 13 as a head coach, that is hands down the best team I’ve coached against.”

On the offensive side of the ball, senior Vandy Smith led with 11 carries for 20 yards. Senior Lazerick Davis had six carries for 11 yards while junior Javoris Draine had one carry for three yards.

Sophomore quarterback Trey Pittman had two completions through the air for 15 yards. Senior Derrick Jones had one reception for 10 yards while senior Jamall Roby had one reception for five yards.

“We’re proud of our kids,” Graham said. “They played with a lot of class down the stretch, and they didn’t quit.”

The Eagles completed their season with a 14-2 overall record, which is the best record in school history. Eupora is now the reigning Class 2A, Region 2, District 4 champions and the Class 2A North Half champions.

The Eagles put up 508 points this season averaging 34 points per game, and went on a 10 game winning streak this year. In their 14 wins, Eupora outscored their opponents 502-154, and the Eagle defense claimed three shutout victories.

Eupora’s winning season can be contributed to its hard working coaching staff led by Graham and comprising of assistant coaches Thad Walker, Michael Knight, James Courtney, Bryant Thomas, Chad White and Dicenzo Miller as well as its talented roster

Graham noted that the Eagle seniors were a big reason for Eupora’s successful season.

“They have been huge to this program, and on top of that they are really good kids. We wouldn’t be here without our seniors. We got on their coat tails and rode them down here,” Graham said. “We have big shoes to fill next year, but we have some good underclassmen and we’re excited about those guys.”

Pittman had 119 completions for 1790 yards with 21 touchdowns this season. Pittman averaged 119 passing yards per game.

Jones had 44 receptions for 975 yards with 15 touchdowns and had 14 carries for 125 yards. Defensively, Jones had 46 stops with six interceptions.

Roby had 44 receptions this year for 511 yards with five touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, Roby had 65 stops, seven sacks and three fumble recoveries.

Smith had 139 carries this year for 729 yards with nine touchdowns. Defensively, Smith had 101 stops, two sacks, two interceptions and three fumble recoveries.

Davis finished the season with 118 carries for 716 yards with four touchdowns and had nine receptions for 110 yards. On the defense side of the ball, Davis had 33 stops and four interceptions.

Savon Daughtery had 51 carries for 341 yards with seven touchdowns and had three receptions for 28 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, Daughtery had 33 stops and three sacks.

Lamontae Salley had 75 carries for 373 yards with five touchdowns. Defensively, Salley had 33 stops with one interception.

Draine had 34 carries for 242 yards with six touchdowns this year. On the defensive side of the ball, Draine had 37 stops, two sacks and one fumble recovery.

Markelle Eichelberger had 107 stops this season, one sack and four fumble recoveries.

Patrick Marshall had 62 stops this year, three sacks and one fumble recovery.

Beau Smith had 29 stops this season with two sacks and one fumble recovery.

Rusty Johnson had 65 stops, one sack, three interceptions and seven fumble recoveries this year.

Justin Lewis added 65 points for the Eagles this season with 47 extra points and six field goals.