By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
Oxford quarterback Guy Cameron Billups impresses his coach, Johnny Hill, with his actions on and off the playing field.
Off the field, the senior signal-caller attributes his success to his teammates.
“We have a local business that gives an award for player of the game,” Hill said. “He received the award and immediately went to his offensive line and receivers and started shaking their hands.
“He’s not a look-at-me player.”
However, Billups’ passing numbers this season scream “Wow!”
In 12 games, he has completed 172 of 274 passes for 2,788 yards and 32 touchdowns. He’s suffered just five interceptions. In the Chargers’ last three games, all victories, he has completed 44 of 51 passes for 749 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“I don’t know of many high school quarterbacks who could complete the passes he has,” Hill said. “It’s amazing what he’s done all year. He’s had one semi-bad game.”
Thank goodness for Oxford, Billups’ lowest effort didn’t come against this week’s 5A state quarterfinals opponent – West Point. The Chargers’ QB passed for 303 yards and two touchdowns, one in the final two minutes, in his team’s 22-20 loss to the defending state champions Oct. 8 in West Point.
The Chargers (9-3) and Green Wave (11-1) rematch is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday in Oxford.
“Billups is one of the best quarterbacks in the state,” West Point coach Chris Chambless said. “He does a wonderful job getting the ball out quick. He’s also smart. He knows where the ball’s going before the snap.”
West Point counters with a talented quarterback of its own in Justin Cox, who gives the Green Wave a run/pass threat who’s difficult to defend.
“He’s scary for a defense,” Hill said. “When he gets in the open, he’s hard to catch. He killed us the last time.” He was referring to Cox’s 92-yard sprint for a touchdown in the second quarter of the first meeting.
Hill believes the key ingredient in Billups’ success isn’t necessarily the accuracy with which he hurls his passes.
“It’s his personality, his demeanor with the players,” he said. “They love him. They would fight the world for him.”
Billups’ favorite target is easy to spot. Wide receiver Deshaun McNeal has caught 78 passes for 1,182 yards and 14 touchdowns. He had a 9-yard TD reception in last week’s 49-14 playoff road win against Pearl.
In the October loss to West Point, Billups completed a scoring strike of 14 yards to Stan Ivy with 1:31 remaining. However, the Chargers fumbled on their 2-point conversion attempt.
“Yeah, we fumbled at the end,” Hill said. “Our kids are playing a lot better now, but I’m sure West Point is, too. They’ve got a good football team. We’re going to have to play better than we did last time.”
Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572 or firstname.lastname@example.org