By Brandon Speck
All anyone wanted to talk about after the most recent MHSAA football division alignment was the strength, on paper, of Division 4-2A.
Baldwyn and its seemingly weaker 1-2A slate? The Bearcats don’t want to hear it any more.
After knocking two 4-2A teams out of the playoff race, the Bearcats (11-3) host 4-2A champ Calhoun City on Friday night with a North title on the line.
“There were four quality opponents left in this thing and there are two still standing,” Baldwyn coach Michael Gray said. “Somebody is going to get an opportunity to play in Jackson. It’s going to be a dogfight.”
Gray would know. The teams have shared divisions and met every year since 2009. Baldwyn broke a three-game losing streak in the series last season.
The Bearcats have won nine straight, the last two against Bruce (33-22)and Eupora (31-14).
Friday against Eupora, Baldwyn had another big rushing night, 159 yards from a sick Duke Upshaw and four rushing TDs from Upshaw, Laquintez Upshaw and Devonta Gates.
Who’s got the edge?
Eupora lost to both teams, with a 27-20 loss at Calhoun City.
“Size-wise, they’re comparable,” said Eupora coach Junior Graham. “They’ve got the same type skill people as Baldwyn does. I don’t know who’s got the edge. It will be an interesting ball game.”
Calhoun City (10-3) knows all about the run. Backs Levarious Varnado and Cartin McBride and quarterback Chakel Gates combined for 351 rushing yards Friday in a win against West Bolivar.
Duke Upshaw crossed the 1,000-yard mark, now with 1,017 yards and 14 touchdowns on 101 carries. That’s more than 10 yards per touch. … For a sophomore. … In 10 games.
Laquintez Upshaw has 678 yards and 12 touchdowns.
“Mass over matter. I learned that as an eighth grader,” Graham said. “They were a lot bigger than us up front and it just wore us down. They’ve got plenty of skill people.”