Monday morning quarterback: East Webster vs. Winona

Joel Coleman
Staff Writer

I’m not one to brag, but let me take this rare opportunity to pat myself on the back.

It's because I told you so.

A couple of weeks ago right here, after East Webster was pummeled 67-15 by Calhoun City, I wrote that I’d bet the Wolverines would come out swinging against Winona when the two schools met this past Friday night.
Now I understand the final score might not indicate it as the Tigers won 40-17, but the Wolverines indeed gave Winona all it could handle. East Webster went to the fourth quarter down just 27-17 to the now-Class 2A, Region 2 champions and the Wolverines had the football with a chance to get within a score. That’s when East Webster was bitten by the turnover bug and as a result, lost all hope of an upset.

Still, the Wolverines sent a strong message this past weekend that there is plenty of fight left in Cumberland. That doesn’t shock me in the least.

This is a town and group of folks that have a knack for fighting through adversity, whether it’s the on-the-field or on-the-court kind, or whether it’s the wider-scale kind such as when the destructive tornado ripped through the community a few years back. As I wrote previously, giving up doesn’t seem to be an option at East Webster.

That’s a really good thing for the Wolverines. Because despite the fact this has been a bumpy football season for East Webster, the Wolverines still have a pathway to the Class 2A playoffs this season. To get there, East Webster must defeat Leflore County this Friday night. If the Wolverines win, they’re in. Make no mistake about it either, if East Webster can make the playoffs out of its district, that’s a tremendous accomplishment.

Just in case you haven’t been paying attention, Region 2 is to Class 2A football what the Southeastern Conference Western Division is to college football. Every single week is an absolute dogfight.

Don’t believe me? If East Webster wins next week, that leaves Leflore County out of the playoffs. Leflore County is the only team in the division to beat region champion Winona.

Let’s play it out the other way. What if East Webster loses? Well, that leaves the Wolverines out of the playoffs of course, but the amazing thing is, that despite missing the playoffs, East Webster would be one of only two teams to defeat Choctaw County, who won the Class 3A, Region 4 title last Friday. What was the other team to defeat Choctaw County? Well that would be East Webster’s cross-county rival and Class 2A, Region 2 rival Eupora.

It’s an understatement to say Class 2A, Region 2 is good. It’s arguably the deepest and most competitive division in all of Mississippi High School football. There would be no shame at all in being the odd team left out of the playoff mix.

However East Webster won’t let that fact slow down its preparation this week.

“We’re going to go in ready for that game,” Wolverines junior Jon Austin Roberts said.

I’ll make one more prediction. I’ll bet Roberts is right on the money. Despite losing to Winona, East Webster showed a grittiness and fight against the Tigers that proved the Wolverines’ football hearts are still beating.
As East Webster has proven time and time again though the years, that’s a dangerous thing for everybody else.

Joel Coleman is the Mississippi State writer for the Starkville Daily News. The views in this column are Coleman's and not necessarily the views of the SDN or its staff.