By Austin Bishop
The Webster Progress-Times
Eupora High School head football coach Junior Graham is getting to where he really enjoys first quarters, and his Eagles don’t seem to mind them too much either.
EHS erupted for three first-quarter touchdowns last Friday night on the way to a 49-14 blowout win over homestanding Winona, improving to 3-0 in the process.
“It’s really hard to explain,” Graham said. “Our defense has just come out and made some big plays for us and set us up in good position. And our offense has a lot more big-play potential than we expected.”
Five of Eupora’s seven touchdowns were on plays of 28 yards or longer as the Eagles rushed for 399 yard as a team and passed for 85 more for a total of 484 yards of offense.
Lamontae Salley rushed for 217 yards and three touchdowns, including runs of 67, 43 and 35 yards. “We have been kind of surprised by his in-game speed,” Graham said of Salley. “When you break it and go the distance against Winona then you know you’ve done something. They have kids who can run.”
Salley has rushed for 426 yards and seven touchdowns on the season in just 41 carries.
He wasn’t the only offensive weapon for the Eagles on Friday night, as Lee Starks had six carries for 131 yards and two touchdowns. “He broke one for 80 yards against Winona as well. Our offensive firepower has been a pleasant surprise. We have done a really good job securing the ball, and the defense has done a good job of giving us a short field.
“After the first game I was disappointed in the run game, but it has really come along,” Graham said. “If we can establish the run game we are going to be okay.”
Javoris Draine rushed for 51 yards on eight carries for EHS, while Pittman hit on 5-of-15 passes for 57 yards. Corson Gunn had four catches for 48 yards to lead the Eagles.
EHS opened its scoring on a 28-yard pass from Jalen Embry to Rusty Johnson on a tight end around pass. Salley then broke his 67-yard touchdown run, followed by an 11-yard scoring pass from Pittman to Gunn to put the winners up 21-0 at the end of one quarter.
Tamorus Draine was in on a whopping 18 tackles for the Eagles, while Frank Elam, Beau Smith and Jarques McBride had six each. Getting in on five stops were Will Bowen, Victor Goldman and Johnson.
Next up for the 3-0 Eagles is a trip to Clarksdale to take on the Aggies of Coahoma AHS. They are 2-0 on the year, after opening the season with shutout wins over Riverside and O’Bannon before taking last week off.
“They seem very structured and run the ball well,” Graham said of the Aggies. “They run the ball well and blitz a lot on defense.
“But, I’m going to be honest with you, we mostly work on Eupora every week,” he said. “It’s always been like that every week.”
The trip to Coahoma AHS is the second in a four-game road trip for the Eagles, who visit Byhalia on Sept. 20 and Houston on Sept. 27, before taking the following week off. The next home game for EHS is set for Oct. 11 when Bruce comes to town.