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Clash of undefeateds: West Oktibbeha, Eupora are both off to good starts

September 5, 2012

Eupora's Lazerick Davis, right, breaks a run into the open field against Winona last week. (Photo by Richard Love, For Starkville Daily News)

The Eupora and West Oktibbeha football teams have much in common, but have approached its matchup against the other in different ways.

The Eagles and Timberwolves square off in Eupora at 7:30 p.m. tonight.

Eupora reached its 3-0 record by coming off a 22-13 win over Winona last week.

"We did a better job last week on the pre-snap penalties on the offensive side of the ball," Eupora head coach Junior Graham said. "We are trying to put together four quarters. We haven't done that yet. We played two really good quarters at Winona in the first half and we didn't function very well offensively in the second half.

"Defensively we are going to try to slow down a team that has averaged 61 points a game. I have been doing this 24 years and never played anybody averaging 61 points."

West Oktibbeha (2-0) has had nearly two weeks off since they beat Montgomery County 56-6 on Aug. 24.

"It has given us more time to practice, but in the same way, it has been a while since we have played," West Oktibbeha head coach Adam Lowrey said. "We do have a lay off from that. We have to wait and see (today), to see if it helps or hurts.

"We had probably two of our better practices. We practiced (Tuesday) for a long time and we practiced Sunday evening under the lights. It went really well. I was pleased."

The Timberwolves have outscored their opponents 122-12 this season.

Lowrey has specific areas where he wants his squad to improve as far as "getting tougher and more physical, execute at the skilled positions, and just want to focus on fundamentals and get better at that."

West Oktibbeha has been led by senior quarterback Von Smith and senior tailback Tiberias Lampkin.
Smith has done it with his legs and arm, while Lampkin has really grown into his running back position.

"Because of Lampkin, you can't just focus on their passing game," Graham said. "He is a really good back. He keeps you honest and you are going to have to play good run defense. We are just going to try to avoid the big play. They have big played everybody they have played so far. (We're) going to try and put them in long yardage situations.

"We have to keep Von hemmed up. He breaks containment a lot. They present some issues defensively that we haven't faced this year."

Graham admits it has been hard preparing for the Timberwolves and knows Lowrey has had a great deal of time to prepare for his squad.

"(Lowrey) knows what we are going to do," Graham said. "We haven't changed our philosophy. Preparing for them has been a little bit difficult, because of the fact they use five wide receivers at times. We've had some blown coverages this week. Preparing for them is kind of like preparing for an option team. Our seniors have done a good job this week of staying focused and keeping our younger guys focused."

For Eupora, it is led by senior wide receiver and Ole Miss commit Derrick Jones. Jones is an explosive player who can be dangerous on both offense and in special teams.

"Just play our game," Lowrey said of what his team will have to do to win. "We want to dictate what happens on offense and we want to set the tempo. Defensively, we want to make them one dimensional. We want them to throw the ball to (Derrick Jones)."

Eupora took last year's game 36-16 in Maben.

"You always want to avenge a loss," Lowrey said. "We just look at it like it's the next game."

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