Eupora looking to take advantage of open date

By Austin Bishop

The Webster Progress Times

 

One thing you can count on for sure — Junior Graham has a plan for this week.

The veteran Eupora High School head football coach plans to fully take advantage of the fact that his Eagles don’t have a game scheduled for this Friday night. While the extra week could certainly help his team prepare for its Region 4-2A opener against Bruce on Oct. 11, Graham has another team he plans to work on.

“We have got to work on Eupora,” Graham said. “We have got some needs that we have got to address. We are going to do that this week. We are not dealing with any Bruce stuff this week.”

Graham said each position coach has set goals that are expected to be met by the end of the week. “We are going to find out what we’ve got, and utilize it. It is not going to be an off week. We are treating it like it is the first day of camp.”

All of this comes after a Friday night performance that saw the Eagles score 23 points in the first quarter and then hold on for a 23-12 win over homestanding Houston.

“We had some untimely penalties that really killed some drives,” Graham said. “Once we got ahead, we really didn’t match their effort. They just played harder than us.”

While it wasn’t something Graham was excited about, it also wasn’t a total surprise.  “Since I have been here, we tend to have one of those games every year,” he said. “Hopefully we have got it behind us.”

The win pushed the Eagles to 5-0 on the season as they closed out non-division play. Eupora is ranked No. 4 in MHSAA Class 2A this week by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. Bassfield is No. 1, followed by Lake, Bruce, Eupora and East Marion.

“We break our schedule up into three seasons,” Graham said. “We were fortunate enough to go 5-0 in the first season (non-division play), now we are about to start the second season, which is division play. If we do well there, then we get a third season (the playoffs.)”

The Eagles struck quickly in the win over Houston, with Trey Pittman hitting Tarvis Robinson with a 66-yard scoring pass on the first play from scrimmage. That was just the beginning of the first-quarter fireworks for Eupora, as the Eagles scored on a 22-yard pass play from Pittman to Rusty Johnson and a 5-yard touchdown run by Lamontae Salley. Pittman hit Chance Cooper and Javoris Draine with two-point conversion passes and Justin Lewis booted an extra point.

Houston scored one touchdown in the first quarter and another in the fourth.

Salley rushed for 90 yards on 20 carries for the Eagles, while Pittman hit on 12-of-26 passes for 177 yards. La-Marcus Caradine had four catches for 39 yards, while Robinson had two catches for 80 yards. Javoris Draine, Corson Gunn, Cooper and Timmy Austin had one reception each.

Jalen Embry picked off three passes to lead the EHS defense, while Will Bowen had 13 tackles and Tamorus Draine was in on 10 stops. Beau Smith and Victor Goldman had seven tackles apiece for EHS.