By Austin Bishop
The Webster Progress-Times
Junior Graham has been around high school football long enough that he recognizes a big game when he sees one. And that’s exactly what the veteran Eupora High School head football coach knows is ahead of his Eagles when they make the short trip to Calhoun City.
“We have got a real big one on Friday night,” Graham said. “They are the only undefeated team in the division. They are playing for a lot and we are playing for a lot. If they win, it assures them of first place. For us to have a chance, we need to win. We are also playing to get that first playoff game at home. Everything is tough from here on out.”
The Eagles picked up their first Region 4-2A win of the year last week by scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull away from Okolona and post a solid 34-12 win.
“We played a lot better, especially in the two deficient areas we were concerned about,” Graham said. “We blocked much better and we tackled much better as a team. We still have a ways to go in both of those areas, but it was better.”
Eupora led 13-6 at the half and 20-12 at the end of the third quarter before striking for a pair of touchdowns late.
“We just kind of wore them down,” Graham said. “We went into the ballgame trying to establish the run.”
Eupora’s first touchdown came on an 18-yard pass from Trey Pittman to Lamontae Salley, with the second one coming on a 45-yard pass from Jalen Embry to Salley.
The Eagles picked up a third-quarter touchdown on a 12-yard run by Javoris Draine, while the winner’s fourth quarter scores came on an 8-yard run by Draine and a 5-yard run by Salley. Justin Lewis was good on two extra-point kicks for EHS, while Pittman ran in a two-point conversion.
Pittman hit on 10-of-15 passes for 135 yards for Eupora, while Victor Goldman rushed for 68 yards on 13 carries and Draine had seven carries for 58 yards. Claude Herard had 12 rushing attempts for 52 yards, with Lee Starks picking up 35 yards on six attempts.
Salley had seven receptions for 122 yards, while Will Bowen had two for 38 yards and Corson Gunn two for 20.
Beau Smith recorded nine tackles to lead Eupora, with Tamoris Draine picking up eight and Bowen and Frank Elam being credited with seven each.
While Graham was happy to get back into the win column, he also points out that his Eagles will have their hands full against Calhoun City.
“The two schools are only 18 miles apart so it’s a rivalry and there is a lot riding on this game,” he said. “They are probably the most diversified team we will play.
They use a lot of formations offensively, and they have got three guys who can go the distance at any time.”
After playing the Wildcats of CCHS on Friday, the Eagles will then make the short trip to take on East Webster to wrap up the regular season.