In a repeat of an earlier regular season game, the Eupora Eagles and the Calhoun City Wildcats are set to square off tonight in third round Class 2A gridiron action.
In what is certain to be an electric matchup, the Eagles and Wildcats are set to kickoff at 7 p.m. in Calhoun City.
Having already faced the Wildcats, Eagles’ coach Junior Graham has a good knowledge of the team’s strengths and of what lies ahead for his athletes.
“Calhoun City is a well-rounded team,” Graham said. “They present a problem on both sides of the ball, especially with their dual-threat quarterback. We have had a good week of preparations so I feel we are ready.”
The quarterback Graham refers to is Chakel Gates, who currently is the league’s leading rusher with 926 yards, a mere 74 yards shy of breaking 1,000-yard mark for the season. To further demonstrate the dual-threat, one need not look further than Calhoun City’s last battle with Kennedy where Gates picked up 100 yards passing, while rushing for 154.
Eupora has its own weapon tonight in the form of Mississippi-Alabama all-star wide-receiver Derrick Jones. Jones led his division in receiving yards throughout the regular season with 716 and throughout the season he has accounted for 14 Eagle touchdowns.
Following its week of preparations, Eupora heads into tonight’s contest hoping that a change of scenery will reverse the game’s outcome this time. During the September contest in Eupora, Calhoun City came out victorious following a 27-6 ball game.
To get his team ready for its current matchup with the Wildcats, Graham has the Eagles focusing on the importance of this time of year and the strength of every opponent the team faces.
“(It's a) huge game versus Calhoun City this week,” Graham said. “It’s a huge game every year, but especially during this time. At this time of year, you are going to play good competition every week. This time of year you have to bring your A game every week because there are no easy people in playoffs."
Eupora enters the contest following a second round 36-8 victory over South Delta, while Calhoun City is coming off its 48-18 win over Kennedy.
Following this evening’s competition, the winner advances in the playoffs to face the winner of the Bruce-West Bolivar matchup.