Monday morning quarterback: Eupora vs. Choctaw County

Robbie Faulk
Staff Writer

If anyone wondered whether the Eupora and Choctaw County rivalry was heating back up, that was answered with a resounding“yes” last week.

With all of the good things that come with it in the intensity and passion of the game of football, there were some negatives that have risen.

I’ve chosen to use this space to speak on things that I dislike seeing in a couple of places and towns where my roots are strong.

I was discouraged by the report early in the week that former Choctaw County head coach Adam Dillinger had his property vandalized. Dillinger won many football games at Ackerman with the Indians and then the Chargers before he took the position as athletics director and assistant football coach at Eupora back in the spring.

It’s important to note that there hasn’t been anything official on who was responsible for the deed at Dillinger’s house but the coach reportedly believes it was rivalry-driven. Among other things, Dillinger had toilet paper littered across his house and yard, his truck was tampered with and there was furniture on the roof.

This, in my opinion, is far too much.

That action translated over to Friday night where the Eagles traveled to Ackerman for the Highway 9 Bowl. Social media is a buzz over the fact that the Eagle captains declined to shake hands at the pre game coin toss. Opinions will be various over that action, but that sent the message that this night was a little bit different for both of these teams.

Now, for the good.I thought the game itself was played extremely well by these two proud programs. Choctaw County head coach Ben Ashley has his team believing in the process and the “culture,” as he calls it, of the option offense. I haven’t seen the Chargers before Friday night, but they looked like a team that is becoming more and more comfortable with its style of play.

Neither team was going to let up. The Eagles appeared to take control of the game midway through the third quarter but Choctaw County came roaring back and tied the game heading into the fourth quarter. It had all the makings of the classic game that we all saw last season when the Chargers pulled off the thrilling win in Eupora, but this time the Eagles had the last laugh.

Eupora won the game on the back of Preston Perkins, who rushed for 87 yards on 12 carries and had a strong fourth quarter.

As the two teams shook hands post game, Dillinger was the one getting the Gatorade bath from the very players he coached against last season. The Eagle players rallied around their new offensive assistant and knew how much the game meant to him, but they also wanted that for themselves. The way the post game was handled by both teams, including the Chargers losing in class, is how the rivalry should go.

Both teams are poised for big district seasons coming up and I feel both been prepared with the challenging schedules it's had. Now that this week is finished, hopefully both fan bases can move on and enjoy the success to follow.

In the future, my hope is that the rivalries in this area continue to be played on the field. In the end, it’s just a game.

Robbie Faulk is the high school writer for the Starkville Daily News. The views in this column are Faulk's and not necessarily the views of the SDN or its staff.