By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Eupora coach Junior Graham, whose Eagles host Bruce tonight in the MHSAA Class 2A North championship game, said it perfectly.
“We’ve got our hands full, no doubt about it,” he said. “It’s one of those games you could play well and still lose.”
That’s the way it should be for teams that are one game short of a state championship.
Bruce is one of three area teams in the mix. In Class 5A, West Point goes to Starkville for the second time this season for a spot in the championship game next week at Jackson’s Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Bruce’s three losses all came on the road. Coach James Ray said his team would love to be at home to play in front of the fans, but his kids will play wherever they have to.
“It doesn’t matter at this point. It’s the North half championship. I wish it was at home so we could play in front of our fans, but our fans are going to travel and it will feel like home there,” Ray said. “The field is close. The fans are right on top of you. Our kids don’t care.”
Starkville and West Point meet for the fifth time in three years.
They split the last four games. West Point won the regular season game last season and lost in round two of the playoffs at state runner-up Starkville.
“I know a couple of them. When we’re out there, we’re enemies,” West Point quarterback Tez Lane said. “But after the game we shake hands. When we’re out there, we go hard.”
The Green Wave won 47-22 earlier this season.
Starkville coach Jamie Mitchell was ready to talk about West Point as soon as his Yellow Jackets beat Oxford last week.
“Doesn’t need to be a lot said when the two of us get together,” Mitchell said. “It’s going to be a war. It’s the way it ought to be. We’re the best two teams in the North, no doubt about that.”