OCH Regional Medical Center Athlete of the Week: Knight

Eupora's Tanner Knight
Staff Writer

In just a few short months, fans can get a look at Tanner Knight’s electric arm on the pitcher’s mound at Eupora High School.

Knight’s first love is baseball and it’s where he’ll be playing on the next level when he goes to Decatur in a year to play for East Central Community College. He love’s football, too, and he’s been warming up that right arm this year for the Eagles on the gridiron where he’s becoming quite the weapon for a Class 2A quarterback.

That might be putting it mildly after what he displayed last Thursday night in a must-win Region 2 game against Leflore County. Knight slung the football around for a school record 412 yards in the 46-40 shootout to keep Eupora (7-2, 2-1) still in the hunt for a region title. Knight was a sharp 15-of-20 passing and threw four touchdowns in the win to get up to 1,512 yards for the Eagles this year.

“He was just being a senior quarterback,” Eupora coach Stephen Edwards said. “When you’ve got a senior quarterback that’s been through the fire like he has, it’s his time. Sophomore year was growing for him, but him being a senior, I’m proud of him.”

Coming into that Leflore County game, Knight hadn’t thrown for more than 217 yards in an outing and was averaging just 139 yards per game. In this game, coordinator Adam Dillinger and the staff as well as Knight noticed an opportunity to beat the Tigers through the air.

They executed that plan to perfection.

“We saw that they were a one-high safety and we’ve been playing two-high safety the last couple of weeks,” Knight said. “We knew that we could make that safety pick one side and we picked the side that he didn’t go to.”

It was no surprise that the benefactor on the other end of most of those passes was Knight’s best friend Al Dumas. Last year’s SDN Baseball Player of the Year had seven catches in the game for 209 yards and two touchdowns.

Like Knight, Dumas plays multiple sports and excels at all of them. He also has a relationship with his quarterback like no other as the two grew up together with Knight throwing his first touchdown pass to Dumas in the ninth grade.

“We knew we had to get No. 5 the ball,” Edwards said. “They’re great friends and both have signed with East Central in baseball. You grow up and play all of your sports together so you just have that deal where you know what the other is going to run.”

There’s bound to be much more of those games to come in the near future as Eupora is hoping for a playoff run. The Eagles also still have a division title in their sights needing to beat Calhoun City and have Winona take a loss this week against East Webster.

Whether Eupora wins the division or not, Edwards is going to ride with his senior quarterback.

From a move to wide receiver that led to a broken collarbone ending his season last year to being back at quarterback and better than ever, Knight is prepared for the big stage this fall.

“He’s just a competitor,” Edwards said. “I think baseball last year helped him out. He had to play on the big stage as a pitcher and when you’re on the mound, it’s just you. On the football side, he’ s just not afraid of the lights. It’s just helped us out.”