OCH Regional Medical Center Athlete of the Week: Edwin Herard

Eupora quarterback Edwin Herard

Staff Writer

For all intents and purposes, the opening game of the season was not what the Eupora Eagles were expecting, nor were they happy with it.

Water Valley is expected to be a contender in Class 3A North this season, but it’s a program that Eupora has been able to beat the last few years. With expectations growing in the preseason, it was a game that the Eagles felt they took a step back.

Quarterback Edwin Herard was 1-of-10 passing in that game for 5 yards and rushed for just 56 yards. While he’s not looking to rack up the stats, those didn’t help in the 34-8 loss, so he’s upped his game the last two weeks and done what he could to help the team get back to 2-1.

“I’ve just tried to be a leader out there," Herard said. "We’ve got young guys and they have to feel those roles. I’ve just been an encourager to them. It’s not really about me. I just want to help my team however I can. If (touchdowns) are how I can help them, I’ll do it. I’m not a selfish player.”

Following a 34-18 victory over Newton in which the senior signal caller threw for 144 yards and two touchdowns with 96 yards on the ground, Herard took the French Camp game over last Friday night. Against the Panthers, Herard was 5-of-8 passing for 108 yards and three touchdowns and he carried the football 20 times amassing 160 yards and four more scores giving him seven total touchdowns for the evening.

His big night against a rival easily earned him OCH Athlete of the Week honors this week. His coach, Stephen Edwards, wasn’t surprised and it was exactly what he needed out of him.

“He’s extremely valuable,” Edwards said. “He threw the ball well in the spring, the summer and has continued this fall. We know what he’s going to give us when he runs the ball. He’s not going to go down on first contact. Sometimes, I kind of wish he’d run out of bounds or do something else, but that’s not his nature."

Where Herard has been his best throughout the years has been at linebacker. Last season, he was selected All-State at the position after making 153 stops. Edwards has been more careful using him this year as he needs him more at quarterback and, while Herard love to hit people, he’s been willing to get better on offense because of it.

As a sophomore, Herard was the starting quarterback and ran the triple option. He threw for just 645 yards but carried for 994. Making his return to quarterback this season meant that he needed to be more of a dual threat with more weapons around him so he worked hard on his passing.

“His throwing now has progressed, and it helps our offense with our backs and our two receivers,” Edwards said. “At that stage of the game (as a sophomore), we felt like it was our best bet to run the triple option. He can definitely do that, but now we have receivers and backs that we need to get the ball. He just does whatever we ask him to do.”

For the season, Herard is up to 257 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions with most of the points coming in the last two contests. Camron Culpepper has been the favorite target with seven catches for 181 yards and he has all five of those scores.

Herard also leads the team by a wide margin with 45 carries for 312 yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s leading by example in every way he can and believes his team is turning the corner just as he has as a quarterback.

“We feel like we’ve got a lot of momentum built up and we just want to keep that going as we go through this week,” Herard said. “Hopefully we can keep it going through the next week as well.”