By Ruthie Robison The Winston County Journal
The Noxapater Tigers were handed a 37-12 loss on the road last Friday night as they faced the Class 2A Eupora Eagles.
The Tigers recently coming off a 12-0 loss against Ackerman, another Class 2A opponent, were looking to add a win to their record.
In the first half of the game, the Tigers kept the score close while the Eagles kept racking up penalties sending Noxapater closer to the end zone.
However, the Tigers stacked up their own fair share of penalties in the first half giving Eupora the boost they needed to maintain the lead. The Eagles began scoring within a minute of the first kickoff with a 55-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trey Pittman to Derrick Jones giving Eupora an early lead, 7-0.
In the next four minutes that followed, the Tigers made their way down field in a 74-yard drive with 30 of those yards due to Eagle penalties. Senior running back Trey Baber capped off the drive with a 16-yard dash to the end zone. Unable to receive the extra point, Noxapater trailed 7-6 with 6:57 left in the first quarter.
With the Eagles in possession, on the second play of the Eupora drive the Tigers created another scoring opportunity taking advantage of a Eupora fumble, which was recovered by Trevara Miller. But with a flood of flags and a solid Eagle defense, the Tigers could not capitalize. The first half of the game ended with Eupora obtaining nine penalties that totaled 65 yards and Noxapater with six that totaled 60 yards. In the middle of the third quarter, Noxapater took the lead for the first time in the game.
Carter connected with Katorris Coburn to edge closer to the end zone setting up a scoring opportunity in the next play. With 5:07 left in the third quarter, Carter connected with Baber in the end zone to gain a 12-7 lead over the Eagles.
On the ensuing kickoff, Eupora regained their lead when Rusty Johnson broke out through the middle to return the kickoff 80 yards for the touchdown.
“We played hard. We gave out midway through the third quarter and it showed,” said head coach Justin Hunter. “[Eupora] kept on fighting and we kind of gave out, and we had a couple of players to get hurt and go down.”
The Eagles would continue to control the game for the rest of the night scoring two more touchdowns in the third quarter and a safety and another touchdown in the fourth.
“We played hard all the way through, I’m proud of them,” Hunter said. “We’re going to get some of our guys back and we’re going to be fine. We just have to stick together.”
This week the Tigers (0-2) are excited to host the Class 3A Kemper County Wildcats. Last season the Wildcats defeated the Tigers 57-21. “Our kids really want to get this one. They beat us last year and that was the last loss we had of the season,” said Hunter. “They really want to win this one, and they’ve been talking about this game actually since the beginning of the season. [Kemper County] run the score up on us last year and outmatched us being a 3A school. But our kids are going to be ready for Friday.”
In this rematch, Hunter and the Tigers are determined to pick up a win.
“We will play a good Kemper team this week and we have got to be ready for it,” Hunter said. “We just have to keep playing, get a bit more in shape, get all our people back healthy and we’ll be fine.”
The Wildcats (1-1) recently defeated Nanih Waiya 32-12.
Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. in Noxapater.