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Euporaâ€™s Trae Embry was the Starkville Daily News Area Softball Coach of the Year. The Eaglesâ€™ Lee Berryhill took home SDNâ€™s Area Baseball Coach of the Year honors.
So will head football coach Junior Graham begin staking his claim on the SDNâ€™s postseason football award beginning with todayâ€™s first practice?
â€śWell, both (Embry and Berryhill) deserved the award, no doubt about it,â€ť said Graham. â€śIf you want to start comparing sports here at Eupora, weâ€™re all very fortunate. Weâ€™re all very competitive in everything.â€ť
If Graham and his Eagles are to find success in 2010, theyâ€™ll do so with a lot of new faces on offense. Eupora lost plenty of playmakers on that side of the ball from last yearâ€™s team, a group that went 10-2 and reached the second round of the playoffs. Graham says it will be the offense that garners most of his attention in the early days of practice, along with a few other aspects of the Eaglesâ€™ game.
â€śWe lost so many players on the offensive side of the ball, so weâ€™ll be focusing a whole lot on that this first week,â€ť said Graham. â€śWeâ€™ll do some conditioning and hopefully get our special teams personnel in as well and just start working with those guys.â€ť
Undoubtedly, a challenge this week for the Eagles, and every high school team in the state for that matter, will be the sweltering heat and humidity. Graham admits it will be hot, but heâ€™s confident it wonâ€™t alter Euporaâ€™s preparation too much.
â€śWe started running the first week of June and built up until Thursday of this past week,â€ť said Graham. â€śSo the kids, theyâ€™re coming into fall camp in pretty good condition, but when you put those pads on and itâ€™s 100 degrees outside, you have to acclimate yourself to that. Our kids seem really excited. Theyâ€™re ready to get out there and get started.â€ť
Through the heat and the changes, Graham says heâ€™s ready to hit the practice field himself and prepare for another year on the gridiron.
â€śI told the kids last week that I was struggling sleeping, so Iâ€™m excited,â€ť said Graham. â€śWith the losses we had on the offensive side of the ball, people donâ€™t expect a lot out of us, but I like that challenge. I think weâ€™ve got some good young players and if they can have a little success early, it could be a good year for Eupora.â€ť