Coverage Recap: Eupora 13 | Water Valley 7
A late second half rally by a resilient Water Valley squad wasn't quite enough to overcome an early double-digit Eupora lead. Defensive Coordinator, Jeff Roberts' , defense played lights out in the second half to give the Blue Devils a chance to win the game late. Eupora had just enough offense in the first half, and some key situational defense in the 4th quarter to hold on for the 13-7 victory in the season opener.
The first touchdown of the contest, came on a play that I'm sure the Blue Devils wish they could go back and replay over again. Facing a 4th and 11 at the Water Valley 30 yard line, Head Coach Stephen Edwards elected to go for it rather than attempting a 47 yard field goal. SES Mississippi Player of the Game, Al Dumas, was able to slip behind the Blue Devil secondary where Eupora QB Tanner Knight hit him in stride en route to a 30 yard TD reception.
With the Water Valley offense spinning its tires, Eupora took advantage and extended their lead early in the 2nd Quarter. Following an amazing grab by Kaylend Coffee that setup a 1st and Goal at the 3, Edwin Herard scampered from 3 yards out, extending the Eupora lead to 13-0 with 9:22 remaining in the 1st half.
The game remained relatively quiet for the next quarter and a half, until Water Valley made a late rally to try and overcome the double-digit lead. The Blue Devils finally got on the board with 9:54 left in the 4th Quarter, as QB Ty Varner connected with Martavius Rockette on a 21 yard TD pass that cut the lead to 13-7. Water Valley would have a couple opportunities in the final 8 minutes to tie and potentially take the lead, but were unable to capitalize.
Despite coming up short on the scoreboard, Water Valley and Head Coach Brad Embry should be very pleased with the outstanding play from their defense in the second half. With offensive playmakers such as Martavius Rockette, Trenderrious Brock, and Jayvon Morgan the offense should make big strides as the season progresses forward. The Blue Devils now turn their attention to in county rival, Coffeeville, as they host the Pirates next Friday night and look to retain the Railroad Trophy. Water Valley defeated Coffeeville 55-0 last season.
As for Eupora, the Eagles look like a team that should return back to the playoffs, they missed postseason play for the first time since 1999 last season. Eupora plays in the extremely stout Region 2-2A, a division that includes the defending 2A State Champs, Calhoun City, a much improved Winona squad, and East Webster. I believe that the Eagles could cause some chaos in the 2A playoffs if they can stay away from the injury bug that plagued them in 2016.
SES Player of the Game:
Coming off a Junior Campaign that saw Al produce 639 all-purpose yards and 5 TD's, Eupora Head Coach Stephen Edwards knows that he needs Dumas to be a big time playmaker this season if the Eagles want to accomplish their lofty goals they've set for this season. Al was making plays all over the field on both sides of the ball for the Eagles in their 13-7 victory over Water Valley.
Dumas had several impressive receptions on the night, including a 30 yard TD catch on a key 4th and 11 early in the contest. He was also big on defense, coming up with a big interception in the 2nd half when the Blue Devils were driving in Eagles' territory.
Al committed to play baseball at East Central Community College earlier this month.
**Photo by Leslie Jones Brooks.