Spring football wrapup: Eupora

Staff Writer

Coming into year four on the job at Eupora, head coach Stephen Edwards has some holes to fill, but the culture is set in place.

The Eagles are fresh off of a 7-4 season with big wins over Choctaw County, East Webster and Charleston and a playoff berth. Getting back to postseason was big, but it also isn’t the ultimate goal of the program. Edwards instilled some of those thoughts in the brains of his young team again this spring and liked the results.

“I thought it went real well," Edwards said. "Our kids were aggressive. We don’t have quite as many numbers with 33 dressed out, but I liked the quality. We might have seven or eight players that will play both ways, but we’re used to doing that.”

Two big losses on the offensive side of the football will be replaced with quarterback Tanner Knight and running back/wide receiver Al Dumas graduated, but there’s many pieces left to work with for Edwards.

Edwin Herard will return back to quarterback after spending last season at running back and he’ll have bruising back Preston Perkins to run with him and many others surrounding him. With the rushing prowess of Perkins and Herard, the Eagles worked on building their offense around the run this spring.

“Offensively, we’ve got a good bit of scoring coming back with our running backs and receivers,” Edwards said. “We’ll be more two-back now with the Perkins kid at full back. We still have three or four really good wide outs too. We moved Edwin back to quarterback and I thought Cade Adkins played well when he came in there also.”

Edwards prides himself on his defense to go along with controlling the line of scrimmage on the offensive side of the football. This year’s front will have a slight tweak to it as he goes from a 4-3 to a 3-4 base front.
“We went to a 3-4 look in the spring and I had always been an even-man front, but I’m very pleased,” Edwards said. “We moved some younger kids at the starting positions on defense to see how they handle it and we were aggressive.”

After the installations went through, the Eagles got to put it all to the test in a spring scrimmage. This year, Eupora matched up with J.Z. George and O’Bannon.

Against some talented players, Edwards felt his team handled itself well and took a nice step heading into the summer months.

“We did good and competed,” Edwards said of the scrimmage. “J.Z. George has some athletic kids and O’Bannon has some big kids. (O’Bannon) went 7-4 last year and had a lot of those guys back. It was good to see our kids go up against those talented and experienced teams and get a look at where we are in comparison.”

Through the summer months, Eupora will continue with weight workouts but there will also be several players competing off campus at various camps like Mississippi State and Southern Miss. Edwards said that he also plans to have his team compete in several 7-on-7 tournaments, including one in Starkville at MSU.

(Editor's Note: This is the third part of a series highlighting area high school football teams after spring practice and going into summer conditioning.)