CALHOUN CITY – The end is almost in sight for the Eupora Eagles.
After knocking off the Calhoun City Wildcats 35-13, only a game with Bruce stands in the way of the Eagles and a visit to the state championship game.
“We just played a pretty solid ball game (Friday night),” Eagles’ coach Junior Graham said. “Offensively, we were strong. Defense did a really good job. We were going to make them earn everything they got. We played physical.”
Eupora wide receiver Derrick Jones was pleased with the effort from himself and teammates.
“We came out and played hard,” Jones said. “Our quarterback gave me a lot of chances to make plays and I am just happy to make them work.”
Calhoun City won the toss and without hesitation let everyone know that the Eagles' competition was going to be intense. On their very first drive, Chakel Gates put the Wildcats on the board after a 1-yard touchdown drive.
Eupora answered Calhoun City’s drive almost immediately. With little time left in the first quarter, Trey Pittman hit Jones with a 55-yard pass, which was followed by a Justin Lewis kick that split the uprights to tie the game at 7-7 at the end of one.
“I thought we answered the bell after their first score,” Graham said. “We had a big play, (which was) a big run down the field.”
The Eagles dominated the second quarter. For the first score, Pittman and Jones again teamed up for a 29-yard touchdown pass. Eupora then went up two scores as Vandy Smith found the end zone on a 1-yard rush and Lewis was successful with the kick with 2:55 left in the half.
As the teams made their way to the locker room, the score stood 21-7 with Eupora having the advantage.
In their first possession of the third quarter, the Eagles completed a 14-play drive that concluded with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Pittman to Jones.
Jones' spectacular touchdown catch brought the end of the third quarter and with the beginning of the fourth came Calhoun City’s first possession of the second half. The Wildcats possession was a brief one as on their third play, Gates was intercepted by Jones. Savon Daughtry then capped off the turnover with a 2-yard touchdown run, followed by another Lewis kick.
Calhoun City got another scoring opportunity late in the fourth. This time Gates found Brieton Sykes on a 10-yard pass to put the Wildcats on the board for the second and final time. Sykes’ score was the final of the night as the game concluded with Eupora up 35-13.
Pittman closed his night for the Eagles by going 10-for-12 for 172 yards and three touchdowns. Jones had another standout night for Eupora as he had three receptions for 104 yards and three touchdowns and had one interception, while Lazerick Davis ended the game with 14 rushes for 91 yards.
“Pittman was lights out (Friday night),” said Graham. “He certainly did not look like a sophomore. Jones looked like a senior and a D-1 player. Our backs ran hard, we just played a solid game overall.”
Eupora’s win on Friday reversed the decision of an earlier regular season game that saw the Wildcats knock off the Eagles.
“Last time we faced them wasn’t the turnout we wanted,” Pittman said. “This time we prepared all week real hard, had a new game plan and just came out and did our thing.”
With the victory, Eupora punched its ticket to the Class 2A North Half championship where it faces Bruce. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. next Friday in Eupora.