WEST POINT – Last week against rival Starkville, West Point surrendered a 20-0 halftime advantage. But Friday night in another rivalry matchup, there would be no second-half letdown.
The Green Wave (3-1) rebounded nicely and pulled away in the second half on the way to a 28-13 victory in front of a packed crowd at McAllister Field.
Senior tailback LaKenderic Thomas, who had 123 rushing yards and two touchdowns, noted the lesson learned from last week’s loss.
“We said we were gonna stay focused for the whole game and keep playing hard and not let up,” said Thomas, who also had a reception for 32 yards. “We never let up in the second half and made sure we held on.”
West Point’s Justin Cox also ran for one touchdown and threw for another. Defensively, the Green Wave did allow 218 passing yards to Noxubee County (4-1) but won the battle of the clock and ground game. West Point rolled up 228 yards on the ground while allowing just 29 yards to the Tigers.
“Well you can’t run around them and they are hard to throw at them,” said West Point head coach Chris Chambless. “So you run right at them and we worked on that all week, and of course, we work on that every week.
“We told them adversity doesn’t build character but it reveils character. We had some of the same situations as last week but we improved in those situations.”
Both team started sluggish, offensively, before the fireworks began in the second quarter.
Thomas put the Green Wave on the board with a 20-yard scoring rumble with 8:19 left in the half. On the next series, West Point quarterback Justin Cox connected with Jamarius Tallie for a 49-yard touchdown pass for a 14-0 advantage.
However, the Tigers inched closer and got on the board less than four minutes left in the half. Noxubee County’s Janardreaon Jones hauled in a nine-yard touchdown catch as West Point led 14-7 at the break.
Naturally, the Green Wave had flashbacks to last week when they failed to hold a comfortable halftime lead over Starkville. But this was a different week, as Cox and Thomas each had touchdown runs in the second half.
“We’re just gonna bury that loss in the past,” said Thomas. “We started a new streak tonight and we’re gonna move forward.”
Paul Jones/Special to the Journal