Special to the Chickasaw Journal
EUPORA – If the saying is true and defense does indeed win championships, then the Houston Hilltoppers may be in for a special season.
The state's top 4A defense shutout the undefeated Eupora Eagles (5-1) in a physical running game, 34-0. It was Houston's (5-1) third shutout and they have only allowed 25 points this season.
The Houston defense started the game in a hurry, forcing a fumble from the Eupora offense which was recovered by Tay Bowden
Following the turnover, the Houston offense was quick to cash in. After a couple of first downs, Taylor Baskins rumbled into the endzone from 16 yards out.
After the score, the Hilltopper defense once again provided another short field for their offense by way of an interception by Kavonta Marble
Now back on offense, the Hilltoppers were struggling to get into the endzone until on fourth down, quarterback Urriah Shephard ran into the endzone from five yards out.
As the first quarter ended, the Hilltoppers led, 14-0.
After back and forth possessions that ended in punting for both teams, the Hilltopper offense got back to their scoring ways as sophomore Shephard led his team back down the field and capped off the drive with a two yard touchdown run.
After this latest score, the Hilltoppers headed into halftime winning 20-0.
As the third quarter started, the Hilltopper defense once again forced a three-and-out. Unfortunately the defensed didn’t get much of a breather as the Houston offense fumbled the ball which was recovered by Eupora.
But there was no need to fear for the Hilltopper fans, because the Houston defense was up to the task and forced the Eupora offense to punt after the turnover.
Once the Houston offense had the ball back, they went back down the field to extend the lead as junior Taylor Baskins rushed for a touchdown from a few yards out.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Hilltoppers led 27-0. Throughout most of this quarter both teams held the other from scoring. That was until sophomore running back Quenton May began to take over a drive late in the fourth quarter and capped a late drive off with an eight yard touchdown run to seal the game and give the Hilltoppers a 34-0 victory.
After the game, Eupora head coach Steven Edwards said that he thought the effort of his team was there, but the Hilltopper defense was tough to manage.
“Their defense was clearly the best defense we’ve seen,” Edwards said.
On the victorious sideline, Houston head coach William Cook thought his offense played well, but was sure to mention that his defense is what carries his team at this time in the season.
“Our defense played outstanding, another shutout,” Cook said. “They are the crutch of this team right now.”
Next week Eupora will travel to Okolona in a district match and Houston will host Region 4 foe Caledonia at Homecoming at Topper Field.