Eupora head coach Junior Graham has seen how his young team handles success.
On Friday against Bruce, he'll see how the Eagles bounce back from defeat.
After beating Houston and Weir to start the season, Eupora (2-1) found themselves on the wrong end of a 17-8 score against Winona last Friday.
Despite the loss, Graham says his team has answered with a lot of resolve ahead of hosting the Trojans.
"Our kids have done a good job of keeping the (Winona) loss in perspective," said Graham. "When we left Winona, we knew we had lost to a really good opponent and we felt like we had a chance to even slip out of there with a win if we had gotten a couple of breaks. But we've had a good week of preparation this week getting ready for Bruce."
Bruce (1-2) comes into Friday on the heels of defeating last year's Class 2A North champion Ackerman decisively.
The Trojans downed the Indians 26-6 and make their way south down Highway 9 with plenty of momentum and talent.
"They execute extremely well on the offensive side of the ball," said Graham. "They've got several quality, skilled players, and they do a good job of spreading the ball around to accommodate the different players they have. Their offensive linemen get where they're supposed to go and get pads on people they are supposed to get pads on. And defensively, they don't give up much. It will be a heck of a ballgame Friday."
Heading into the contest, Graham admits the stakes may be a bit higher as his team looks to rebound from last week. Even so, the Eagles' veteran leader refuses to put too much stake in what happens Friday.
"Must-win games start in October when you are preparing yourself for a run at the playoffs," said Graham. "We knew early in the year, with the tough schedule we have and the guys we have playing, that we might go into division play with a couple of losses. So we'll approach Bruce like we do most ballgames, with a ton of respect and we'll try to be solid in all areas of the game."
Noxapater (2-1) at West Oktibbeha (2-1)
After beginning the season with three straight road games, West Oktibbeha finally gets a home game in Friday's matchup with Noxapater.
On paper, the game looks to turn into an offensive shootout.
West Oktibbeha, well known for their passing game led by quarterback Von Smith, has averaged over 30 points per game through the season's first three weeks.
Noxapater has outdone that mark, averaging 34 points per game through their first three contests.
South Leake (1-1) at East Oktibbeha (0-3)
East Oktibbeha has been on the losing side of three hard-fought games to open 2010. The Titans will look to finally break into the win column on Friday as they host South Leake.
The Wildcats have been a tough team to judge through their two games this season.
Philadelphia dismantled South Leake 49-0 in their opener, but the Wildcats responded by shutting out Carthage 18-0 in the season's second week.
South Leake is coming off of a bye week.
East Oktibbeha comes into the contest after losing to cross-county division rival West Oktibbeha 29-20 last Friday.
East Webster (3-0) at Houlka (0-3)
An undefeated East Webster team looks to keep their strong start going this week on the road at Houlka.
The Wolverines, ranked No. 5 in this week's Associated Press Class 2A poll, have averaged scoring over 42 points per game coming into this week's contest.
Defensively, East Webster appears to be hitting its stride as well after beating traditional power Vardaman 37-0 last week.
Houlka has been outscored 151-6 through its three games this season.
Ackerman (1-2) at Houston (0-3)
After dropping two games in a row, Ackerman will try to get back on the winning track on Friday at winless Houston.
For that to happen, the Indians will need to mount more offense.
Ackerman heads into this week's game having scored just 14 points all season.
Houston is coming off of a 34-32 loss to Okolona a week ago.