'Other' Upshaw battles skunk for prep spotlight

By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

It may get confusing in Baldwyn this football season with all the Upshaws running around.
Freshman running back Duke Upshaw made himself a commodity as an eighth grader. Thursday it was Laquintez Upshaw – no relation – who made a mark of his own against Booneville.
And he still got upstaged … by a skunk.
A skunk ran onto the field and cleared the Baldwyn sideline late in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s 28-27 Booneville win and nabbed the headlines, but it was Upshaw who had 133 yards on seven carries and touchdown runs of 52 and 43 yards.
“Probably the thing that stands out about him is his work ethic,” Baldwyn coach Michael Gray said. “If you didn’t see him, you wouldn’t know he was around. He’s gotten better each week.”
After Booneville’s 20-point rally, the skunk stole the show, making it all the way to ESPN’s highlights by Friday night.
After the skunk left the field, it was Booneville junior Andrew Lambert who took the spotlight, returning an 84-yard interception to tie the game, Andrew Smith’s kick the winning point.
In Baldwyn’s season-opening win at Kossuth, Laquintez Upshaw returned an on-side kick 65 yards for a touchdown.
“He was very impressive to us on film, just a good athlete,” Booneville coach Mike Mattox said. “He made several plays against Kossuth.”
‘Skunk Bowl’
The uninvited polecat didn’t spray the escaping crowd but it didn’t take long for the storied rivalry to be given a new moniker. Skunk Bowl quickly became a Twitter hashtag.
As soon as Mattox saw it enter the field, he was making plans. The third-year Booneville coach doesn’t carry a Voodoo doll but – as superstitious as coaches can be – he wasn’t taking any chances with a possible omen.
“When I saw it, I made my mind up to kick it over to Baldwyn’s side, even if I got sprayed,” Mattox laughed. “I moved out to the hash during the heat timeout. I told the kids to notice which side it went to and that we were about to make a play. It was the very next play but being realistic, I’m proud of the kids. They just didn’t quit.”
brandon.speck@journalinc.com