By Austin Bishop
The Webster Progress Times
Junior Graham may have the title football coach in front of his name, but he knows a little bit about science as well.
“I learned in the eighth grade that it was mass over matter,” Graham said. He was reminded of those lessons on Friday night, as a big Baldwyn team used brute force to overcome a two-touchdown deficit and roll to a 31-14 win over Graham’s Eupora High School Eagles in the third round of the MHSAA Class 2A State Football Playoffs.
“We were a lot quicker than them early in the ball game, but as the game played out
their size just took over the game,” Graham said. The Bearcats of Baldwyn will now move on to play Calhoun City for the right to play for the Class 2A State Championship on Dec. 6, while Eupora ends its season at 9-3.
The first quarter belonged to the visiting Eagles on Friday as they hit for two touchdowns and were on the move again, when the momentum suddenly shifted.
“We started off well,” Graham said. “We got some field position early and jumped out to a 14-0 lead. We get the ball at the start of the second quarter and we had a turnover. Once we had that turnover, we just lost all momentum and just couldn’t get it back.”
Eupora actually led at the intermission, but Baldwyn scored on the last play of the first half to cut the Eagles’ advantage to 14-12.
The second half started with the Eagles being pinned down deep in their territory. “We lost field position and their size just took over,” Graham said. “They were humongous.”
Eupora’s first quarter scores came on a safety recorded by Will Bowen, a 42-yard touchdown run by Lamontae Salley and a 24-yard pass from Trey Pittman to Claude Herard.
The Bearcats scored 12 in the second, 13 in the third and six in the fourth to take the win.
Salley rushed for 104 yards on 22 carries to finish the season with 1,249 yards on 168 attempts. Pittman hit on 3-of-15 passes for 31 yards, while Tarvis Robinson had two catches for seven yards and Herard one for 24 yards and a score.
Victor Goldman led the EHS defense with 10 stops, while Bowen had eight and Jalen Embry, Beau Smith, and Jarques McBride were in on seven apiece.
While disappointed with the loss, Graham said he and his staff would look back on the 2013 EHS team in a positive light.
“We live in an era where things are measured strictly by championships, but this team was a successful team,” Graham said. “We overcame some injuries during the season, had some younger guys step up and some of the older guys take some key roles. Overall it was a good year.”