By Austin Bishop
The Webster Progress Times
It doesn’t take Eupora High School head football coach Junior Graham long to cut to the chase.
“If we can’t get ready to play this week, with all that is at stake, we probably don’t need to make the playoffs,” Graham said of his team’s road contest at county rival East Webster on Friday night.
If Eupora wins the game and Calhoun City beats Okolona, the Eagles would likely finish second in Region 4-2A and host a first-round game in the MHSAA Class 2A State Playoffs on Nov. 8. If Eupora loses, the Eagles will miss the playoffs entirely.
“Our division is a special division,” Graham said. “It’s according to how you match up with the team you are playing, and all of the match-ups are different. East Webster is capable of playing really good on defense and their offense is different from anybody else’s in the region.”
Eupora could have clinched a playoff spot and even a shot at the region title with a win against Calhoun City last week, but instead suffered from a series of turnovers that led to the Wildcats taking a 27-20 win over the Eagles.
“We have such a small margin of error for us to be successful,” Graham said. “Early in the season we were protecting the ball well. We went through five ballgames with hardly any turnovers and we have had seven in the last two weeks.”
Calhoun City picked off three passes in the second quarter last Friday night on the way to building a 21-0 lead at the half.
Eupora cut it to 21-7 when Will Bowen recovered a fumble for a touchdown in the third quarter and Justin Lewis booted the point after. But the Wildcats responded by picking off a pass and returning it for a touchdown to go up 27-7.
EHS scored fourth-quarter touchdowns on a 2-yard run by Trey Pittman and a 32-yard pass from Pittman to Corson Gunn, but it wasn’t enough as Calhoun City hung on for the win.
Pittman hit on 10-of-23 passes for 182 yards for the Eagles, while Lamontae Salley rushed for 42 yards on 10 carries and Javoris Draine had 10 carries for 23 yards. Salley also had four catches for 59 yards, while Gunn had four for 70 yards and Tarvis Robinson had two catches for 53 yards.
Frank Elam led Eupora with 10 tackles in the game, while Tamoris Draine and Lee Starks had nine apiece and Bowen and Victor Goldman each recorded seven.