EAST PRAIRIE -- After losing to hapless Corning (Ark.) in Week 2, it appeared East Prairie was in for a long year.
But instead of waiving the white flag and prematurely ending the 2001 season, the Eagles opted to take out their frustration on conference rival Scott City last week -- upsetting the former power, 35-14.
It was the Eagles first win over Scott City in five years.
"Last week's win was a big confidence builder," said coach John Garner. "We're hoping to build on that and get even better this week. We want to play better than we did Friday night."
This week the Eagles look for win No. 2 when Fulton County, Ky., comes to town.
Struggling Fulton is currently 0-4, having been outscored 161-2 this season. Still, Garner doesn't feel this is a guaranteed victory.
"We can't take anybody lightly," he explained. "Against Corning we weren't ready to play and we got beat. We've got to take every game like it's us against the world, and take care of business."
Last week the Eagles took care of business by playing a near-perfect game. The offense had no turnovers, the defense intercepted four Scott City passes, and the line dominated the line of scrimmage all night.
Running back Josh Boyer paced the offense, rushing for 171 yards on 34 carries with three touchdowns. East Prairie will ask for a similar performance out of him against a bigger Fulton County line.
"There's no doubt about it, (Boyer) has got to keep getting better every week if we're going to be successful," said Garner. "He's just a sophomore, and we've got to get better up front. It's early in the season, and everything here in Missouri is geared towards those last three games. Hopefully we can get there."
Boyer leads all East Prairie rushers with 273 yards on the season. Senior David Heath followed with 120 yards, but is out for the season with a broken ankle suffered in last week's game. Heath, a three-year starter, was also one of the team's top defenders.
"David is going to be tough to replace, but we've fought through adversity before," said Garner. "His loss will be felt on both sides of the ball and it hurts our depth. That's the game of football."
Quarterback Matt Boyer has thrown for 112 yards on 12-of-31 passing with one TD and no interceptions. Aaron Gifford has been his favorite target, pulling in four passes for 35 yards.
"I don't know if we turned things around last week, but I know we played better football," said Garner. "I think the turnaround will come the next week if you can carry that on. I think the kids have some confidence now that they can play with some of the better teams in the area. We'll just have to see what happens Friday night."
Fulton County is led by quarterback Jared Warner, running back Joe Coffey and wideout Lamont Smith. David Gallagher enters his third season as head coach of the team.
"Fulton County is very big up front, and they've got two receivers that are very athletic," said Garner. "Their tailback also has a little bit of speed. They've had some trouble offensively, but they've played some tough teams in Kentucky and they've played one more game than we have."
Fulton County's losses this year have come to Fort Campbell (0-43), Crittenden County (0-47), Calloway County (0-28), and Portageville (2-43).
"It's scary when you play a team that's 0-4," said Garner. "They're itching for a win. You've got to play good football against teams like that. I know what it's like to be 0-4 -- you're hungry to get anything you can get."
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.