Everyone knows 13 is an unlucky number.
Eupora head coach Junior Graham says it is also the primary reason his Eagles sit at the .500 mark ahead of tonight's critical Class 2A, Region 2 matchup with Hamilton.
Through six games, Graham's 3-3 Eagles have turned the ball over 13 more times than last year's team.
"There's the big reason we're 3-3 and not 6-0," said Graham.
The Eupora coach also knows his squad must protect the ball better to enjoy a successful homecoming night, and move to 1-1 in division play.
If this week's workouts were any indication, Graham says Eupora fans may like what they see tonight.
"We actually had our best practice of the year on Monday, hands down, it wasn't even close," said Graham. "Our kids have a lot of pride about themselves and they weren't happy with the way they played last week. That's not to take anything away from East Webster, but after watching film, our guys realized the level of play we played at compared to the level of play East Webster played at was a little bit different. Hopefully, we learned something from that."
Making things more interesting tonight is the implications in the Region 2 standings. Though there is still plenty of football left to be played in 2010, the winner of tonight's game will at the very least sit in a tie for the fourth spot in the division. That's critical come November, as the top four teams from each region advance to the playoffs.
The veteran Graham isn't looking too far ahead, though he does understand the magnitude of tonight.
"We've just got to take them one at the time," said Graham. "But it is a big game for us. We're hoping to get that first division win and get back on the right track."
Hamilton head coach Ray Weeks feels the same way.
"It's absolutely an important game for both teams," said Weeks. "We're just going to have to match up with them and contain Eupora's running game."
After giving up 40 points in last week's loss to West Lowndes, it's no surprise Weeks is gearing in on defense, citing it as one of the keys to tonight's 7 p.m. game.
"We've been giving up a lot of points," said Weeks. "We've been playing a lot of young guys, so hopefully they'll step up and play their best this week, because we've got to stop the run."
East Webster (7-0) at Ackerman (1-6)
Though playing on its home field, the statistics show Ackerman could have an uphill battle in this Class 2A, Region 2 showdown.
East Webster boasts the top offensive and defensive unit in the division, scoring an average of 41.6 points per game while allowing just eight points per contest.
Conversely, the Indians have scored just over 10 points per game while allowing over 30 on average.
Last week, the Wolverines opened up region play with a 27-0 win over arch rival Eupora, while Ackerman lost its region-opener 40-21 at J.Z. George.
Ethel (1-5) at West Oktibbeha (5-2)
West Oktibbeha will try to bounce back from its first region loss of the season against Ethel.
The Tigers have struggled mightily this season, with their lone victory coming against winless Edinburg.
Meanwhile, the Timberwolves high-octane offense has led to a 4-1 record in Class A, Region 3, and currently has West Oktibbeha sitting in third in the 10-team division.
Edinburg (0-6) at East Oktibbeha (1-6)
After starting the season with six straight defeats, East Oktibbeha looks to win their second in a row tonight in Crawford.
The Titans proved in last week's 64-0 win over Thomastown that they know how to take advantage of teams that struggle defensively.
That could be bad news for the winless Eagles, who have given up at least 40 points in each of their last three games.