By Brandon Speck
BALDWYN – Duke Upshaw threw up, then blew up, as Baldwyn beat Eupora 31-14 on Friday night in the 2A North semifinals.
The sophomore battled a stomach virus since Tuesday and was still laying on the locker room floor not long before rushing for 159 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns.
“I had to start drinking Pedia-lyte. I drunk it all week,” Upshaw said. “I came out on the field and everybody did their job.”
Battling a blowing drizzle, Baldwyn (11-3) looked ready for basketball season early on. But winners of nine straight will host Calhoun City for the North title.
With a stout wind in their faces in the first quarter, the Bearcats couldn’t escape their own end. Snaps went all over and Baldwyn went through a pair of centers.
A wild snap helped Eupora (9-3) to a safety and a short field to a 43-yard touchdown run from Lamontae Salley. The Eagles took a 14-0 lead in the quarter on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Claude Herard from Trey Pittman.
The game took place on one side of the field. When the wind went Baldwyn’s way, it took full advantage, of turnovers, too. Freshman Jimmy Tyes recovered a fumble on Eupora’s first drive of the second and Baldwyn got on the board with Laquintez Upshaw’s 1-yard run. Baldwyn cut the lead to 14-12 on a floater from Corbin Scott to Martel Brown as the first half expired.
“It established field position for us early and they got it to start the second,” Eupora coach Junior Graham said of the wind.
Wind at their backs
With the wind in the third, Upshaw scored twice, one off one of two Marbrecio Crump interceptions.
With a 25-14 lead in the fourth, Devonta Gates added the final points on a 2-yard run, off Crump’s pick. Crump also had 17 tackles.
“I chose the wind in the third quarter to get it at our back,” Baldwyn coach Michael Gray said. “We had momentum and our kids just went to work.”