By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – So what makes the Lafayette and West Point high school football programs stand out among the best in Mississippi?
It not only takes good athletes, but a robust dedication and intense physical labor to be the best.
“We did not have a starter miss a football practice this season that we didn’t know exactly where he was,” said Lafayette head coach Anthony Hart, whose 2010 squad became the first MHSAA team to finish a season 16-0. “When coaches read this, they will know how big that is.
“That’s big when your players are at practice and doing what they’re supposed to do. That makes my life a little easier and it’s easy to prepare for each week when everybody is there like they’re supposed to be.”
A couple of hours after the Commodores celebrated their 31-6 Class 4A state champion-ship game win over North Pike on Saturday, the West Point Green Wave experienced the euphoria of winning the 5A state title at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The Green Wave defeated Brookhaven 21-3 on Saturday night to win its second consecutive state title and seventh in school history. The 2010 championship ties Louisville for the second most MHSAA state titles in Mississippi. Only South Panola (nine championships) has won more.
And going undefeated in all of its Class 5A games for the second straight season – the Wave’s only loss in 2010 was to 6A Starkville on Sept. 10 – one would think that West Point, with all that talent, can coast through its practices and not stress too much while preparing for games.
But that isn’t the case whatsoever. Just ask Wave head coach Chris Chambless.
“Very physical practices,” Chambless said of his team’s practice habits. “I have a rule: We don’t ever go in shorts. The guys don’t ever question that.
“They don’t know what it’s like to go in shorts. We’re going to be physical every day. The only person who’s got a red jersey on is the quarterback.
“But we’re still going to hit him sometimes. We just love to play physical football.”
What about during walkthroughs or practices the day before games?
“We don’t do walkthroughs,” Chambless said. “A walkthrough at West Point and somebody is going to get their teeth knocked out. Somebody is going to get hurt.
“So, we have to go full gear every day, and that’s just the way it is. … That’s just what we do and we’re going to continue to do that as long as I am here.”
Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572 or firstname.lastname@example.org.