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EUPORA â€“ Last week's loss to East Webster left a bad taste in the mouths of the Eupora Eagles.
The Eagles found the flavor to be more to their liking on Friday night.
Eupora charged to a 36-0 halftime lead and went on to record an easy 42-21 victory against the Hamilton Lions on Homecoming.
After suffering a 27-0 loss to East Webster in its first Class 2A, Region 2 outing of the season, the Eagles improved to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in the region.
"We were proud with the way our kids responded," Eupora coach Junior Graham said. "That was a big game last week and our kids were devastated, but they came back out Monday and gave us a really good practice. We built on that during the course of the week.
"One thing I can say about our kids is they are resilient. We've gone through some growing pains and we did some growing up tonight. We hope it carries over to next week."
Graham was concerned about turnovers coming into the game, but the Eagles benefitted from a couple of key breaks in the first quarter against Hamilton by way of fumble.
Josh Woodard recovered the first one at the Lions' 30-yard line, then two plays later quarterback Jamal Roby found running room up the middle and broke a 22-yard touchdown at the 6:10 mark of the first quarter.
Woodard wanted to scoop up the fumble and do the scoring himself, but he liked the fact that the Eagles received a boost with his recovery.
"That brought life to the game," Woodard said. "We got off pace a little bit mentally (after the East Webster loss), but we came in last week and got back on the basics."
On the ensuing kickoff, Hamilton muffed the football and George Starks of the Eagles came up with the loose football.
Eupora moved 50 yards on 10 plays and got its second touchdown of the night with 41 seconds remaining in the first quarter on a 1-yard run by Jermey Wright.
"This is the first time we had turnovers go our way," Graham said. "We were able to capitalize off of them."
Once the Eagles established the momentum, the Lions couldn't stop it.
Eupora scored three more times in the second quarter as Roby had a 5-yard run, Deshawn Starks added a 48-yard run and Roby had a 54-yard scoring pass to Derick Jones.
The Eagles continued to score points into the second half as George Starks capped a four-play, 80-yard drive with a 7-yard run.
Hamilton avoided the shutout in the third quarter when Dojuante McMillian broke loose on a 79-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, then moments later Cedric Bell had a 36-yard fumble recovery return for the Lions.
Eupora's balanced rushing attack was led by Vandy Smith with 89 yards on five carries, while Roby added 70 yards on eight attempts and Starks had nine carries for 70 yards, all in the first half.