Winona used a balanced offense to open the 2019 football season with a 28-6 victory over Eupora. Led by quarterback An'darius Coffey, the Tigers averaged nine and a half yards per play in amassing 234 yards on the ground and 165 through the air.
But Coach Joey Tompkins was not impressed. “I'm glad we won, but we didn't play very well,” he said. “We're not very good right now. We're going to get a lot better.”
Coffey completed five of nine passes for 139 yards and one touchdown and ran 14 times for 74 yards and two TDs. Robert McMath was on the receiving end of four passes for 123 yards and one TD.
Coffey staked Winona to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter when he scored on a three-yard run and hooked up with McMath on an 80-yard scoring pass. After Eupora cut the lead to 14-6, the Tigers added a second quarter TD on a five-yard run by Coffey and a third quarter score when Adavion Hargrove broke loose for a 70-yard run to the end zone.
Cade Eldridge was four for four on extra points, punted once for 37 yards and averaged 51.2 yards for five kickoffs.
Sophomore Jekeyvion Burnley replaced Coffey at quarterback for one series in the second quarter, then took over the position late in the game, completing both pass attempts for 26 yards and carrying four times for 26 yards. “He played well,” Tompkins said, Tailback Blake Cooper played sparingly due to a sprained ankle suffered in a scrimmage with Senatobia a week earlier, carrying four times for 16 yards. “A sprained ankle is one of those things that takes time to heal,” Tompkins said, Linebacker Tay'shun Pointer led the defense with seven solo tackles and one assist. Other players who had strong games, according to Tompkins, are offensive tackle Devontae Bays, nose tackle Saveon Gross and linebacker Dorian Curry.
“We have to improve on our offensive line play. And we have to get a lot better defensively,” Tompkins said, adding that the Tigers were guilty of some “little things,” such as lining up incorrectly.
“We'll get tested this week, no doubt about that,” he said. The Tigers travel to Ackerman Friday for a matchup with Choctaw County. The Chargers totaled 540 yards – 464 on the ground – in an opening game 34-20 win over Independence.
“They have a lot of guys who played last year,” Tompkins said. Winona played one of its best games of the 2018 season against Choctaw County last year, a 33-7 victory.