Eupora looks to bounce back against Leflore County

Stephen Edwards
Staff Writer

For the first time this season, Eupora had a real let down last Friday night when they traveled to Winona.

The Eagles (6-2, 1-1 Class 2A, Region 4) were coming off a win over East Webster in the annual Maroon Bowl at home and had also earned big wins over Class 3A teams Choctaw County and Charleston. Their one loss for the year had come against Newton in a hard-fought 24-19 battle against one of the state’s top teams in the North.

With a solid first seven games under their belt, the eighth game was quite disappointing as Winona took home a 35-18 win last week.

“We played a lot of big games before that and you hadn’t beat East Webster in a couple of years and then you won that," Eupora coach Stephen Edwards said. "You let your guard down. Tip your hat to coach (Joey) Thompkins and (Winona) they had a good game plan.

“We play in a talented division. If you let your guard down, you’re going to lose.”

As disappointed as Edwards was in the flat performance, his players were as well. Quarterback Tanner Knight has been a spark for the team at quarterback this year as he came back healthy after breaking his collarbone a year ago.

Knight has thrown for 1,114 yards this year with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions and it’s opened up the offense for the team’s running attack led by Edwin Herard and Preston Perkins. With the offense clicking and the defense playing so well, it was shocking to see the team falter a week ago.

“We didn’t come in focused like we should have," Knight said. "We were still thinking about the East Webster game and we didn’t have a real good week of practice. That hurt us real bad.

“We had a good week this week. We knew we had to come in and be focused right away.”

That brings the Eagles to their next challenge. There are only two games remaining in the regular season before playoffs are underway and neither will be easy for Eupora.

Leflore County (6-1, 1-0) comes to town Thursday night for a special Thursday night challenge. The Tigers are winners of six-straight with their lone loss coming in the opening game of the season against Class 4A Greenwood.

The X-factor for the high-powering offense of Leflore is its quarterback. Chandler Robinson spent his last two seasons leading Hollandale-Simmons High School to back-to-back state championships in Class A. With his father taking a job at Leflore this season he’s hoping to compete for a third-straight title.

So far, they’re on the right track.

“They have a ton of athletes and are well-coached,” Edwards said. “They’re somebody that hung 56 points on Winona. Their quarterback is real good. It’s his senior year and he can really throw the ball. He’s really accurate and has guys to throw it to.”

After tonight’s matchup only Calhoun City remains for Edwards and the Eagles. Every week is magnified even more in this division with only four games on the schedule and Eupora can either be competing for a district championship next week or fighting for a playoff spot.

“We match up with a tough division (in the playoffs) with Philadelphia, Scott Central and Newton,” Edwards said. “It’s going to be two of the better divisions in North 2A playing in the first round so you need to position yourself and get as high a seed as you can get.”